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Helping you bring a powerful voice and perspective to any board.

Effective Board Governance Course

As natural leaders in their communities, physicians are often asked to serve on boards, whether it’s their county or specialty society, a local charity or homeowners association, etc. In order to be an effective board member, it’s important to understand the various types of boards, your responsibilities, and what’s expected of you.

Why it's important

Now more than ever, physicians are being asked to serve on the board of their clinic, medical group, or integrated system. But in order to be an effective board member it's important to understand the difference between a constituency-based board and a representative board, what's expected of you in terms of fiduciary responsibility, who you are expected to represent, and how to be effective in communicating as a board member. Equipped with this knowledge, physicians can be even stronger leaders and bring a powerful voice and perspective to any board.

How it works

The WSMA Effective Board Governance Course is a full-day seminar, providing in-depth education about governance—what it is, what boards do, why they exist and how you can be an effective participant.

This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Details on CME credit are included in the curriculum information below.


Edward A. Walker, MD, MHA

This course is led by Edward A. Walker, MD, MHA, professor emeritus in the departments of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and health services at the University of Washington in Seattle and senior physician advisor for the WSMA Center for Leadership Development.

More information

For more information about upcoming dates for the course, contact Monica Salgaonkar at or 206.956.3641.

What You'll Learn

Overview of governance

  • What is it? What do boards do? Why do they exist?
  • The difference between governing boards and operational management boards.
  • How do boards interact with organizational leadership? Strategic instead of tactical, operational focus.
  • The board's role in the attention to mission, vision, and values. The responsibilities and duties of a board member.
  • Your personal contribution as a board member.

Orientation: Becoming an effective board member

  • Are physicians naturally good as board members?
  • How do you learn your new role?
  • Dealing with "problematic" board members.

How effective is your board?

  • Description of an "ideal" board.
  • Detailed assessment of your current board.
  • Evaluating your board's performance.

Communication as a board member

  • How do you communicate as a board member?
  • Style vs substance differences.
  • The power of speaking up (and the power of silence).
  • Dealing with conflict constructively.

Leadership as a board member

  • Committee leadership.
  • Followership on other committees.
  • Getting things done.

Board terms

  • How long should I serve?
  • How do I help create succession planning?


What have we learned about being on a board?

CME Credit

The WSMA is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The WSMA designates this live activity for a maximum of 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for up to 6.5 hour(s) of Category I CME credit to satisfy the relicensure requirements of the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission.


The content of this activity is not related to products or services of an ACCME-defined commercial interest; therefore, no one in control of content has a relevant financial relationship to disclose and there is no potential for conflicts of interest.

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