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Leadership: “They Never Taught Me This in Medical School”

Frugé, Ernest PhD* †; Mahoney, Donald H. MD* †; Poplack, David G. MD* †; Horowitz, Marc E. MD* †

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: May 2010 - Volume 32 - Issue 4 - p 304-308
doi: 10.1097/MPH.0b013e3181cf4594
Medical Progress

Pediatric hematologist/oncologists lead in a variety of roles and settings: at the bedside, in private or academic practice, in the laboratory, and in wider society. Whether their leadership is the result of innate ability, technical expertise, or educational experience, patients, colleagues, academic centers, and communities turn to physicians for leadership. But where do these physicians learn this complex skill? Physicians do acquire leadership skills, but mainly through interaction with role models and in a hit or miss fashion. This article provides a theoretical framework for medical leadership education and describes a leadership-focused educational seminar that has been offered to pediatric hematology-oncology fellows at Texas Children's Cancer Center since 1995. Retrospective pre/post evaluations by fellows indicated significant improvement in self-rated ability for all 24 dimensions assessed, including a variety of items drawn from the roster of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Core Competencies. In this article we extend the concept of physician leadership from its roots in practice and present a comprehensive model that prepares pediatric hematologist/oncologists for leadership in clinical, research, and educational arenas.

*Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine

Texas Children's Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

This work was funded in part by a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation

Reprints: Ernest Frugé, PhD, Texas Children's Cancer Center, 6621 Fannin St. CC 1510, Houston, Texas 77030 (e-mail:

Received for publication October 21, 2009; accepted December 11, 2009

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.