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Developing the skills you need to thrive professionally in today’s health care environment

Physician Leadership Course

The WSMA Physician Leadership Course is a 40+ hour hybrid-distance leadership skills-development course for physicians and physician assistants who want to know more about health care leadership.

Why it's important

Once out of residency, many physicians will find themselves leading a multidisciplinary team charged with delivering the highest quality care to our patients. To be an effective team leader, core leadership competencies are required—skills not taught in medical school. Without these skills, physicians may find themselves unprepared and overburdened with unexpected responsibilities—a recipe for burnout.

The WSMA is committed to helping physicians develop the skills they need to thrive professionally in today’s health care environment, regardless of the type or size of your organization. Developing core leadership competencies can strengthen clinician resilience, improve time and stress management, and help you achieve greater workflow efficiency.

How it works

The WSMA Physician Leadership Course combines live and online learning to enable course participants to begin developing and honing their leadership skills at their convenience. Designed with a physician's busy schedule in mind, only three live classes are required; the remainder of the course is conducted online.

Course details

The Winter 2022 course will be held Jan. 14-April 8. The in-person sessions will be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 14 and 15. Course participants will then have 11 weeks of online instruction and interaction, finishing with a third in-person session on Friday, April 8.

The full curriculum for the WSMA Physician Leadership Course is detailed below. The max capacity for the course is 30 participants. Individuals or group/system teams are encouraged to apply. The tuition for the course is: WSMA member: $2,250; non-member: $2,800. A 5% discount is offered for groups of five or more.

Cancellation policy

For cancellations received less than 30 days before the first day, the registrant will be charged 50% of tuition and have the opportunity to attend a future course, where we will collect the remaining 50%.


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.

Physician Leadership Course Curriculum

This is a course for physicians and physician assistants who want to know more about health care leadership. Many physicians and PAs who take this course will go on to further training and become leaders and managers in their local clinical care settings. The course is a basic "boot camp" to familiarize physicians with the four important components of health care leadership: performance improvement, patient safety, and high reliability; leadership and management of individuals, teams and organizations; planning and finance; and creating and maintaining a personal leadership development plan.

Course philosophy

The course is designed from a social-constructivist point of view, which maintains that experienced adult learners do best when they work in teams to build new understandings of their previous experience by developing new, better-informed mental models. We will work in teams, sometimes face to face and at other times asynchronously, using multimedia resources and health care-oriented case scenarios to acquire a basic understanding of leadership, management, and quality improvement.


Unit 1 – Leadership and Management

Week 1 – In-person/Live
Module 1: Managing Yourself and Others: Personal Style and Emotional Intelligence
Module 2: Managing the Organization – Teams and Culture: Working in Teams and Basics of Coaching

Unit 2 – Quality and Patient Safety

Week 2 – Online
Module 3: Performance Improvement Basics

Week 3 – Online
Module 4: Patient Safety, Error Reduction, and High Reliability Organizations

Week 4 – Online
Module 5: Disclosure of Error and Just Culture

Unit 3 – Planning and Budgeting

Week 5 – Online
Module 6: Personal and Short Range Planning

Week 6 – Online
Module 7: Long Range and Strategic Planning

Week 7 – Online
Module 8: Finance 101 – Budgets and Revenue Management

Unit 4 – Synthesis and Application

Week 8 – Online
Module 9: Engaging Physicians in Change

Week 9 – Online
Module 10: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Leadership

Week 10 – Online
Module 11: Capstone Case Formulation

Week 11 – In-person/Live
Module 12: Planning for Next Steps: Communication, Influence, Feedback, Conflict & Negotiation

No partial AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ will be awarded for the online activity.

CME Credit

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

The WSMA designates this Other (blended course of live and enduring material) activity for a maximum of 40 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 40 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.

Join or renew your membership today!