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The Physicians Foundation awarded a grant to the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership (KIPL) to support its leadership development curriculum. Kristina Natt och Dag, PhD, MA, Vice President, Leadership Development, North Carolina Medical Society, shares how the KIPL has partnered with the Physicians Foundation to assist North Carolina physicians to be the drivers and agents of change toward patient-centered health care.

Q. What is the North Carolina Medical Society Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership and what is its purpose?

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership (KIPL) was created in 2013 to house the two existing leadership development programs for NCMS members at that time — the Leadership College, which was the NCMS’ first leadership development program started in 2002, and Clinical Quality University. The Leadership College was the brainchild of two prominent leaders in North Carolina’s medical community, Dr. Elizabeth Kanof and Dr. Michael Brennan. As true visionaries, Drs. Kanof and Brennan saw early on the crucial need to develop physician leadership to help guide the rapid changes taking place in health care in order to ensure patients would ultimately benefit. Since then, KIPL has expanded to offer Health Care Leadership & Management, a program focused on business skills, as well as customized programs for large health systems and smaller groups throughout the state. In every course it offers, KIPL strives to provide the highest quality leadership development programming that is uniquely relevant to physicians and physician assistants. KIPL graduates have the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in their careers and to be the drivers and agents of change toward patient-centered health care.

Q. What are the two cohorts of the Leadership College that will be supported by The Physicians Foundation grant, and how is the curriculum designed to strengthen the leadership skills of North Carolina physicians? Please share a few examples.

The Leadership College Classes of 2019 and 2020 will be supported by The Physicians Foundation grant. The Leadership College curriculum explores the changing landscape of health care, provides tools and strategies to become a strong leader and encourages participants to share knowledge and skills beyond their clinical competencies. The ultimate goal is to build leaders who can leverage their professional expertise and adapt in the constantly changing social, economic, educational and political environment as it impacts health care at the local, state and national levels.

Leadership College scholars build on their core aptitudes, focusing on leadership fundamentals and then bringing their new skills back to their hospital, health system, medical staff, group practice or the public policy arena. The program offers a special focus on the critical need for leadership in the areas of advocacy and change, including patient advocacy, policy development and governmental affairs. Graduates leave the program with meaningful awareness and insights into their individual leadership styles and how to be the most purposeful, intentional and influential leader to motivate and inspire other physicians and physician assistants to drive transformation in health care.

Recent examples of timely topics Leadership College scholars have addressed include: social determinants of health through a panel discussion within the broader context of health care and economics; and current issues surrounding opioid abuse and prescribing.

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

Applicants are nominated by another individual or an organization. Each application is reviewed by the NCMS Foundation Board of Trustees and the Chair for the specific KIPL program. To qualify for admission, applicants must be an MD, DO or PA-C and be in good standing in the medical community. Programs are open to non-members as well, although non-member scholars most often choose to become NCMS members to qualify for the lower tuition price. The Physicians Foundation’s support helps tremendously in keeping the tuition affordable.

Q. What is your long-term vision for the program?

The long-term vision is to matriculate 5 to 10 percent of all physicians and PA-Cs in North Carolina through a KIPL program by 2025. We believe achieving this goal will establish a critical mass of health care leaders who are fully equipped to guide the positive evolution of our health care system in the state. With the expansion of KIPL into the virtual space, we also hope to attract more scholars from rural areas, providing the same opportunity to network with peers while learning.

Q. How has the grant from The Physicians Foundation helped support the Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership?

The grant from The Physicians Foundation has helped significantly subsidize the tuition for participants, allowing KIPL to continue to provide high-quality, well-designed and relevant CME-certified programs to physicians and PA-Cs from primary care and a wide range of specialties. The vision and generosity of The Physicians Foundation is helping to make Drs. Kanof and Brennan’s original vision a reality and will have a long-term and beneficial impact as more physicians take leadership roles in shaping the future of health care in North Carolina.