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CSA Leadership Development: Anesthesiologists as part of the Solution

Phillip-Richardson-MD-MBA-FASAAnesthesiologists are uniquely positioned to lead changes in healthcare. To better position physician anesthesiologists as part of the solution to the challenges facing our healthcare system, in 2021, the California Society of Anesthesiologists partnered with University of California, Irvine to present a Certificate in Leadership for Healthcare Management. Through this program we have learned that anesthesiologists are at the center of hospital social network, second only to radiologists. As such, we touch more people in the hospital setting than any other physician. Being a broker of information places us in a unique position to help influence and guide decisions in the hospital setting.

Provider network

However, being in the middle of things is not the only advantage that we have. As Drs. Conroy, Lubarsky and Newman pointed out in Anesthesia & Analgesia: we are “skilled collaborators, problem solvers and multitaskers.” [1] We need to work with all the surgical subspecialists, internal medicine and the medical subspecialists. Consequently, we understand how things work in healthcare. As they said, “You cannot fix something you do not understand.”

As such, we know that healthcare systems with physician leaders outperform systems without physician leaders [2]. Consequently, we need to help each other become the best leaders we can, so our physician siblings can be in positions of leadership and help create the best healthcare systems for our communities. If we continue to delegate leadership responsibilities to managers, we will be forced to work in suboptimal healthcare systems.

However, leadership is not innate and at the same time not something completely learned. Similar to the best clinicians, some of it is learned and some of it is innate.  Nonetheless, with time, training and interest we all can become better. We may not all have the time, interest or talent to lead a multistate healthcare system. However, we can help lead our O.R., department or hospital a little better than it is today. 

Through Dr. Pearl’s guidance, CSA developed the relationship with UCI to help teach anesthesiologists leadership skills via the Certificate in Leadership for Healthcare Management. Through this course, we work to teach various topics of leadership, including: Emotional Intelligence, Critical Thinking, Leading Change, Healthcare Policy, Financial Management and much more. This is an eight-month program between November and June, that meets once a month. Three of the sessions are in-person with the remainder occurring via zoom. Since we also want anesthesiologists to build their own support system, and rely on others in the class to help solve problems that might occur in the future, we developed a mentorship program as part of the class, so participants can have discussions with people who have leadership experience themselves.

So, if you are ready to step up and join us as “part of the solution” by developing your leadership skills, please sign up on the interest list here. We will be selecting our next class for the CSA-UCI Certificate in Leadership for Healthcare Management at the end of August. Pricing is approximately $3,100 for CSA members and $5,100 for non-members. Additional information can be found on our flyer here.

Questions? Email:

[1] Joseph, J.  CSA UCI Certificate in Leadership for Healthcare Management – Leading Change.  November 13, 2021

[2] Conroy J, Lubarksy D, Newman M. Anesthesiologists as Health System Leaders: Why It Works.  Anesthesia Analgesia 2022;  134 (2): 235-240.

[3] Conroy J, Lubarksy D, Newman M. Anesthesiologists as Health System Leaders: Why It Works.  Anesthesia Analgesia 2022;  134 (2): 235-240.

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