The Physicians Foundation awarded a grant to the New Jersey Healthcare Executive Leadership Academy to support collaborative leadership training in an effort to resolve top healthcare issues in New Jersey. Marlene M. Kalayilparampil, MHA, project director for the New Jersey Healthcare Executive Leadership Academy, discusses how this program has partnered with the Physicians Foundation to provide healthcare organization leaders with skills to help achieve high-quality, high-value healthcare.

Q. What is the New Jersey Healthcare Executive Leadership Academy and what is its purpose?

The New Jersey Healthcare Executive Leadership Academy is a joint initiative to build stronger leadership among physicians and executives from hospitals, post-acute providers and health plans. The program was developed by the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ), the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) and the New Jersey Association of Health Plans (AHP). These professional organizations, representing the three pillars of healthcare in New Jersey, believe that developing cross disciplinary, collaborative leadership within each sector will resolve the most pressing healthcare issues in our state.

Our program will invest in the individual development of those leading our healthcare organizations in New Jersey. Each cohort will build leadership skills through a focus on a substantial healthcare problem facing New Jersey. The first cohort is focusing on improving care at the end of life. New Jersey has particularly poor outcomes in end-of-life care compared to other states and the nation as a whole. Group projects, case studies, and individual and group learning modules throughout the course will teach leadership through the lens of improving healthcare delivery at the end of life. Initial funding for the program was provided by The Physicians Foundation, the Fannie Rippel Foundation and the Institute of Medicine & Public Health of NJ.

Q. What criteria is considered in order to be accepted to the program?

Participation in the New Jersey Healthcare Executive Leadership Academy is limited to organizational leaders and physicians with program and/or patient care accountability in medical practices, hospitals, post-acute providers and health plans operating in New Jersey. They must either be nominated by an executive or physician leader or apply to be considered for future cohorts. Participants must commit to completing all requirements of the six-month program.

Q. Please share a few of the program’s activities designed to help improve end-of-life outcomes.

Some of the program activities include:

  • Cohort 1: End of Life Care in NJ
    • The cohort will be divided into smaller groups and will work on formulating ideas and developing methods of implementation of the suggested end-of-life care recommendations made by NJHA and New Jersey Governor’s Advisory Council on End of Life care.
  • Screening of a PBS Frontline Documentary on Dr. Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal
  • Content experts from within the state who can speak to big data, policy/advocacy, population health management and more
  • Recipe for Success: Team Cuisine
    • This relationship building activity divided everyone into six workstations where they had to prepare a dinner course. The nominees were put into a situation that at first looked intriguing, but they were then given an envelope that contained a challenging twist. This activity was tied into the shared leadership lesson that was taught for that session. This helped with building the relationships between each of the leaders, enabling everyone to recognize each other’s strengths and how to move forward successfully with the task at hand.

Academy participants will develop the following competencies as a result:

  • Develop and apply executive level leadership skills in planning, decision-making, conflict resolution, and collaboration
  • Exhibit and refine a communication style appropriate to executive leadership
  • Function as an expert interdisciplinary team member by advocating and modeling inter-professional/inter-organizational best-practices for process, decision making, and collaboration
  • Demonstrate problem-solving, entrepreneurial and shared leadership skills in developing project solutions to health care challenges in New Jersey

Q. What is your long-term vision for the Academy’s programs?

Our vision statement is: “Achieving high-quality and high-value healthcare in New Jersey by building collaborative and individual leadership skills among physicians, hospitals, health systems and health plans.” We hope that the program will equip the participants with the leadership and communication skills needed in order for them to break down barriers that already exist within the healthcare industry. The program also aims to develop a cohort of diverse NJ executives and physicians who will become champion leaders and will produce viable solutions toward New Jersey’s pressing healthcare challenges. Ultimately, it will spur the participants to transform the current programs and services offered in New Jersey while also building lasting relationships.

Q. How has the grant from the Physicians Foundation helped further the cause of the Academy?

The grant from the Physicians Foundation has enabled us to set the wheels in motion for our collaborative vision. The grant allowed us to contract with our consultants, The Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership, as well as our academic partner, Seton Hall University, and design a unique and meaningful program that will hopefully serve as a model for the rest of the nation, as there is no other program like it that brings together the brightest minds from the three main pillars of healthcare to solve the pressing healthcare challenges within the state.

For more information, please visit our website, or contact:

Lawrence Downs, Esq.
Executive Director, NJHELA & IOMPHNJ

Marlene M. Kalayilparampil, MHA
Project Director, NJHELA & IOMPHNJ
(609) 896-1766, ext. 258