The late American economist and author Peter Drucker observed that “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
That’s never been truer than in health care right now. Every day leaders face many serious challenges at once and make difficult decisions that will impact their organizations, patients and communities.
The ability to manage change in the face of uncertainty is critical. It is among the key skills nurtured by AHA’s Next Generation Leadership Fellows program, which focuses on developing promising early and mid-career health care leaders and empowering them to bring about real and lasting change in the hospitals and health systems in which they serve.
One of the top features of the program is being paired with an executive-level mentor to guide the fellow through the planning and execution of a year-long capstone project at their hospital or health system where they tackle key issues and challenges affecting health care affordability, cost, quality and safety. This hands-on experience helps rising C-suite leaders hone the analytical skills and judgment that are pivotal as they progress in their careers.
The program accepts about 40 fellows each year. For the class of 2023-2024, the 12-month journey began last month with a kickoff event in Chicago that included in-person meetings between fellows and their mentors. The onboarding sessions set goals and expectations as this group of fellows begins to develop important relationships with their peers.
Throughout the year the class will concentrate on fine-tuning leadership skills that will propel our field forward, including leading and effecting change, navigating the new health care environment, driving transformation and improving care delivery through partnerships.
The Fellows program is designed to help provide a steady pipeline of new talent — executives who understand that the challenges and opportunities facing our field today require fresh thinking, new directions and the ability to innovate.
The AHA appreciates the many mentors who generously volunteer their time to work with tomorrow’s executives. We also are fortunate to benefit from the support of the John A. Hartford Foundation, which provides scholarships each year to fellows whose work supports the health and well-being of our nations’ growing older population, and Accenture, our corporate sponsor.
Later this month, our 2022-2023 fellows will showcase their capstone project solutions to their peers, faculty and other conference attendees at AHA’s Leadership Summit in Seattle.
Helping the next generation of health care leaders develop the skills and experience they need for the future is critical to our efforts to advance health in America.
We are proud that AHA’s Next Generation Leadership Fellows program has supported more than 100 up-and-coming leaders during the last three years. And we are looking forward to sharing the final results of this year’s capstone projects and working with the class of 2023-2024 as they continue their journeys.