Improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting and strengthening physicians' ability to practice high-quality patient care in a changing environment.

For leadership opportunities and development, look no further

Leadership. I have been asked on a number of occasions about opportunities for leadership training and development, a topic that seems very fitting since I recently returned from an advocacy leadership training program with the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). The AAN has a number of leadership programs targeted at various provider groups depending on level of training, age, gender and diversity. Your specialty society may have specific training programs in your area as well.

In this post, however, I’d like to talk about leadership opportunities available for physicians through the Wisconsin Medical Society. My early leadership development in the Society began with membership on different committees and work on different projects. My initial involvement was with the WISMedPAC Board of Directors, where I received excellent guidance and hands-on training in leadership with great mentorship from the Board’s leaders. Many of the Society’s councils and workgroups are looking for members to assist with their efforts, and these often provide great hands-on leadership training and development.

Involvement in my county medical society is another way I’ve gained hands-on leadership experience with a relatively modest investment of time on my part. I have served as secretary/treasurer, treasurer and president of our Tri-County (Eau Claire, Dunn, Pepin) Medical Society, and the leadership development this has provided has been both outstanding and invaluable. We have been very lucky to have seasoned and intelligent leaders as members of our county society and I bet you do as well.

The Society’s councils also provide opportunities for growth and leadership. These small groups, which include the Council on Health Care Ethics, Council on Legislation, Council on Health Care Delivery, Access and Financing, draft, research and review resolutions that become Society policy. They inform Society staff on direction in the State Capitol and advocate for physicians in government, hospitals, clinics and communities. Belonging to a council or serving on a council subcommittee is a very nice way to add to your leadership resume.

Another great way to gain leadership experience, at least in a very general sense, is through involvement in the Society’s Annual Meeting, particularly being involved in a reference committee or the credentials committee.

The Society also offers a formal leadership program: Leading Healthy Work Systems. For me, completing the three-day program was a great way to learn about systems, how they work, why they fail and what can be done to improve them. And I came away with excellent resources and identified areas for continued reflection and growth as a leader. It was well worth the time I invested.

For more information about the Leading Healthy Work Systems course or any other leadership opportunities available through the Society, please feel free to reach out to me any time.

Best wishes to all, and I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start.

Doctor Dexter, MD, a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist, is the Wisconsin Medical Society’s chief medical officer. He also serves as vice chief medical officer, Northwest Wisconsin Region, for Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, is an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and he continues to practice part-time. He received his medical degree from Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., and he completed his residency and fellowship at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education.

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