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New Program Will Teach Surgeons To Lead

Vascular surgery leaders are selecting the first 20 participants for the new Leadership Development Program, aimed at accelerating the leadership development of the next generation of vascular surgeons.

SVS is collaborating on the ground-breaking initiative for early-career surgeons (5 to 10 years in practice) with the Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Society and the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery.

More than 300 people serve on SVS councils, committees, and tasks forces. This provides SVS a “profound self-interest” in leadership development, said Melissa Kirkwood, MD, chair of the SVS Leadership and Diversity Committee, co-developing the program with the SVS Education Council. “It gives us a chance to grow and optimize our leadership pipeline for the future.”

Institutions and practices are sponsoring the applicants. Course activities will include self-study and monthly online education and a two-day live leadership skills course in April 2020, plus recognition at the 2020 Vascular Annual Meeting in June. Each participant also will identify and complete a project to address a leadership challenge in his or her institution or practice.

“The practice of vascular surgery is complex, particularly in this changing health care environment,” Dr. Kirkwood said. “We hope to keep the SVS on the cutting edge by equipping members with the latest knowledge in leadership training.”

The program answers a request SVS members expressed in a 2017 needs assessment survey for a more comprehensive, vascular surgery––specific leadership development program.

“Surgeons face different challenges and different responsibilities at different stages of their careers, both in their health systems and their communities,” said Rabih Chaer, MD, chair of the SVS Education Council. This new program will empower vascular surgeons to be leaders in all of these settings, he said.

“The need spans multiple institutions and providers,” he added. “Participants will be taught how to lead.”

The content has been drawn from the highest quality research on leadership and will focus on applying this knowledge to the real-life leadership and management challenges vascular surgeons face each day.

“The aim is to fast-track leadership development of our community of vascular surgeons to reach their full potential as leaders and make the most positive impact possible in our specialty, their workplaces, their communities, and other areas of importance in their lives,” said SVS President Kim Hodgson, MD.

The program will strengthen the Society, Dr. Kirkwood said. “It will serve as forum where future leaders can meet, and it will provide formal training in transferable skills that can be applied to future SVS initiatives and program development efforts at individual institutions.”