Decade as a Catalyst for Leadership Innovation

It has been a decade since a group of forward-looking healthcare leaders gathered to consider the challenge of how to better prepare the next generation of leaders to meet an increasingly complex world that would demand a higher level of performance from healthcare organizations. Their strategy to create competency-based models using global best practices that could be implemented, tested, evaluated, and then widely disseminated became the foundation for the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL).

As NCHL enters into its tenth year, we do so with innovations that healthcare organizations and universities around the country are adopting to help transform cultures, improve competencies, and drive higher levels of performance. For example, NCHL’s Health Leadership Competency Model is a gold standard in the field. It is referenced in multiple graduate level textbooks and in the curriculum of leading universities. NCHL has led major changes in graduate health management education with over one third of the accredited graduate programs using the NCHL Competency Model to introduce competency-based education and outcomes assessment, better preparing graduates to enter their roles as new members of healthcare management teams. Additionally, it has been adopted by hospitals and health systems nationwide.

NCHL’s innovative Nurse-Executive Team Leadership Demonstration Project has identified key elements that can enhance organizational performance with improved senior leadership team effectiveness in quality and patient safety performance initiatives. And the NCHL Diversity Leadership Demonstration Project will provide insights on the impact of improved diversity and culturally competent leadership on patient safety—so critical with our nation’s changing demographics.

By focusing on industry-wide collaboration, C-suite peer-to-peer learning, and Leadership Excellence Networks (LENS), new paths have been forged in the quest for organizational excellence. Additionally, NCHL’s annual symposium and leadership award dinner remains one of the industry’s seminal events for convening thought leaders and honoring those leaders who role model and espouse the mission and vision of NCHL.

On this tenth anniversary of NCHL, as many of you know, I am retiring as President and CEO. It has been a extraordinary privilege to work with some of healthcare’s greatest visionaries and esteemed professionals in pursuing NCHL’s vision. As I move into the next transition of my life I will be spending more time with my family, pursuing personal interests, as well as continuing to mentor and teach the next generation of health leaders. NCHL will now be lead by two long-time colleagues and friends, Andrew Garman, PsyD, who will serve the chief executive officer, and Christy Harris Lemak, PhD, as chief academic officer. Joyce Anne Wainio will continue in her role as vice president responsible for operations and NCHL’s national demonstration projects.

The management structure reflects a new partnership between Rush University Medical Center and the University of Michigan and ownership of NCHL will continue to engage the diverse constituencies of our field: providers, suppliers, payers, policy makers, and academia, and across administration, medicine, and nursing. NCHL’s research programs and evidence-based management tools will continue to advance healthcare leadership and respond to the growing demand for more research-based best practices for healthcare leaders as part of the mandate for comparative effectiveness and improved performance. Additionally, in working with these two world class institutions, we see the opportunity for growth, synergies, and the benefits of deeper focus on our research.

When Gail Warden and I co-founded NCHL in 2001, we knew there was a need, but the response over the past decade has been overwhelming and I am personally grateful to The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, our corporate sponsors, our Leadership Excellence Networks participants, demonstration sites, academic partners, executive coaches, and other friends and stakeholders for your outstanding contributions to the success of NCHL. I have been humbled by our work, creating best practice tools that have the ability to transform healthcare, improve performance, and create better environments for the delivery of healthcare services to the nation’s entire population.

As we look ahead, NCHL will continue to seek out innovation and innovators in its role as an industry-wide catalyst. Your continued, unwavering support to our vision to optimize the health of the public through leadership and organizational excellence is more important than ever. This is a remarkable time to be in healthcare as our nation pursues seismic change. Let us know what you think about your own experiences in leading these important changes at your organization and in the field.

— Marie Sinioris, past president & CEO

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Blog of the National Center for Healthcare Leadership

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Fieldnotes on Leadership in Health and Healthcare

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