New scholarship program will train future leaders of academic medical centers

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A new scholarship program University of Colorado School of Medicine will help prepare participants for administrative leadership roles in academic medical centers, with an emphasis on orientation and understanding of health care leadership.

The UC School of Medicine Administrative Fellowship Program will welcome its first fellow in the summer of 2023 in the 12-month, project-based program designed to provide participants with strong, high-level exposure to faculty affairs, finance, research administration, resources humanities, educational administration, and other areas of responsibility in the direction of the academic medical center.

Fellows will also have the opportunity to observe and participate in decision-making on complex issues involving teaching, research, and clinical care.

“Academic Medical Centers are lesser known as a career path in healthcare leadership, so one of our goals is to expand knowledge of these centers — and CU in particular — as a great place to work. “says Lauren Ford, director of finance and administration at CU’s medical school.

Practical learning

Ford and Lauren Collins, Director of Finance and Administration at CU School of Medicine, began discussing the niche the scholarship could fill at CU School of Medicine while sharing what they had earned by completing a scholarship similar to Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.

“The high-level leadership skills specific to academic medical centers are not as important as the skills that fellows acquire through fellowships focused on health care administration, which are more common,” Collins says. “Because we both completed a scholarship based on healthcare administration and have since moved on to academic medical centers, we saw the value of it and started talking about how we can expand the talent pool.”

Working closely with Brian T. Smith, Senior Associate Dean of Administration and Finance at CU School of Medicine, Ford and Collins developed a scholarship proposal that outlined everything from a budget rationale to a structure and a leadership and mentorship program.

“One of our goals was to design the fellowship in a practical way, so that the fellow could complete projects through different rotations and gain very in-depth exposure to these different areas of administration,” says Ford. . “We want to make sure they get the full experience.”

Growing careers in leadership

Collins and Ford point out that the early support of the School of Medicine leadership, including Dean John J. Reilly Jr., MD, was essential “because otherwise it could be very difficult for the Fellow to attend high-level meetings with management or to establish mentoring relationships. with faculty and staff,” says Collins.

Presenting the scholarship proposal to faculty and staff, Collins said, “We’ve had overwhelming support and people are really excited. There has been a lot of commentary about potential projects and potential opportunities, because I think people recognize that academic medical centers can greatly benefit from people trained specifically to run them.

Initially, one fellow will complete the program in the 2023-2024 academic year, but Collins and Ford intend to expand the program to accommodate more fellows.

“Health care leaders, especially in academic medical centers, increasingly need to be adaptable and innovative,” says Ford. “Our goal is to help people prepare for all the different career paths available to them at academic medical centers and all the ways they can develop their leadership careers.”

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