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Leadership training for physicians, PAs, and clinical teams in a relaxed, family-friendly resort setting.

WSMA Leadership Development Conference

The 2024 WSMA Leadership Development Conference is scheduled for May 17-18 at Campbell’s Resort on Lake Chelan. Registration is now open.

You're Invited

Dear Colleagues,

I hope to see both familiar and new faces at the annual WSMA Leadership Development Conference this May in Chelan. Our theme this year is building strong teams, with a focus on wellness, diversity, and sustainability. In the midst of disruptive forces, whether driven by technology, sociology, or biology, it is crucial that we work together, support each other and ourselves, and value our differences, and I couldn’t be more excited for an opportunity to explore this idea more in depth.

My father taught me in words and actions to never let the negative get in the way of recognizing opportunity. The Leadership Development Conference offers a two-fold opportunity for WSMA members: first, a chance to meet, learn from, and socialize with physicians young and old, from across specialty and geography, and from all points in their leadership journeys; second, a chance to do so in a springtime resort setting, with Lake Chelan as a backdrop and plenty of time set aside to relax and enjoy the surroundings, allowing you to absorb and reflect on the valuable teachings and discussions from our robust curriculum.

As we say each year, no matter your official role in medicine or where you are in your growth journey, this leadership conference will have much to offer. I hope to see you in Chelan.

Nariman Heshmati, MD, MBA

Nariman Heshmati, MD, MBA, FACOG
WSMA President

About the Conference

Building strong teams, with a focus on wellness, diversity, and sustainability, is the theme for the 2024 Leadership Development Conference.

The conference features a weekend of engaging course content, including both general presentations and interactive breakout sessions, delivered and facilitated by experts from across the health care spectrum. With the lakeside resort setting backdrop, family-friendly activities, and an agenda structured with plenty of time for social events and recreational activities, the conference provides an opportunity for physicians, PAs, and clinical teams to develop their leadership competencies in a relaxed setting.

For this year's conference, the WSMA is pleased to welcome leading health industry forecaster and strategist Jeff Goldsmith, PhD, for the Thomas J. Curry Leadership Keynote address. In his presentation, Goldsmith will engage attendees on the subject of navigating turbulence in a changing health care system. Health system executives have focused increasingly on the potential for technology and large corporate enterprises disrupting their traditional care enterprise. But have they neglected the disruptive potential of economic and political forces on how health care is paid for? Following that thread, he'll also examine how disrupters can be partners in the strategic development of the health enterprise. 

Other conference speaker highlights include Alex Ding, MD, who will explore what physicians should know about artificial intelligence, and Joel Bervell, a medical student and popular social media “Medical Mythbuster,” who will speak about health equity for health care leaders. A host of other speakers will be on hand to discuss topics ranging from financial wellness to building strong teams to support better patient care.

Central to the success of WSMA’s Leadership Development Conference is the resort's family-friendly, beautiful lakeside setting. Lake Chelan in the spring is a wonder to behold, with family-friendly activities, wineries, and much more to offer for young and old.


Friday, May 17

7:30 a.m.
Check-in and networking breakfast

8 a.m.
Opening remarks

8:15 a.m.
Coping with Disruption and Disorder: Physicians’ Role in a Changing Health System
Jeff Goldsmith, Ph.D., President of Health Futures Inc.

9:00 a.m.
Wellness Centered Leadership: The Power and Promise of Centering Humanity
Mary Pan Wierusz, MD

10 a.m.
Networking break

10:30 a.m.
Improving Communication Skills for Physician Leaders
Julie Finley

11:30 a.m.
Lunch break

12:30 p.m.
Leading Well: Evidence-Informed Strategies to Improve Wellbeing of Healthcare Teams Through Leadership
Skye McKennon, PharmD

1:30 p.m.
Building a Culture of Wellness
Andrew Smith, PhD

2:30 p.m.
Networking break

3-5 p.m.
Breakout sessions

3 p.m. - Financial Literacy for Physicians - Anthony Dorsch, MBA, MHA
4 p.m. - Understanding Physician Compensation Models - Anthony Dorsch, MBA, MHA

3 p.m. - De-Escalation and Trust-Building with Difficult Patient Families - Andrew Smith, PhD
4 p.m. - De-Escalation and Trust-Building with Difficult Patient Families - Andrew Smith, PhD

3 p.m. - Flourishing: Leading Through Self-Compassion Laura Jordhen, MD and Ryan Washington
4 p.m. - Flourishing: Leading Through Self-Compassion Laura Jordhen, MD and Ryan Washington

5 p.m.
Networking break

6 p.m.
Reception, dinner, and ice cream social

9 p.m.
Networking reception

Saturday, May 18

7 a.m.
Networking breakfast

8 a.m.
Physician Leadership in Healthcare Innovation - A Primer on Augmented Intelligence
Alex Ding, MD, MS, MBA

9 a.m.
Health Equity in Leadership
Joel Bervell, Medical Student, WA State, University Medical Mythbuster

9:45 a.m.
Networking break

10:15 a.m.
Breaking the Rules
Nikki Tennerman, LICSW, MBA, Institute for Healthcare Improvement




Jeff Goldsmith, PhD is the president of Health Futures, Inc and a leading health industry forecaster and strategist. For eleven years, Jeff Goldsmith was a lecturer on health services management and policy in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. He has lectured on these topics at the Wharton School of Finance, Johns Hopkins, Washington University, and the University of California at Berkeley. Jeff Goldsmith's interests include biotechnology, health policy, international health systems, and the future of health services.

Mary Wierusz, MD is the chief wellness officer and family medicine physician at Washington Permanente Medical Group of Kaiser Permanente Washington. Dr. Wierusz is part of the Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine (CHARM) network of chief wellness officers. She received a certification in tropical medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a certification in Media and Medicine from Harvard Medical School. She has a background in global health, narrative medicine, and has served as WPMG co-chair of the Cultural Transformation Oversight Group and as a prose editor for Literary AMWA, a publication of the American Medical Women’s Association.

Julie Finley is chief experience officer at Community Health of Central Washington. Her background in marketing led to a successful career in investor relations for multi-million-dollar real estate funds. During the 2008 subprime market crash, her organization and its lenders credited the success of the fund to the communication strategies and relationships she built with investors. As the chief experience officer for Community Health of Central Washington, leadership development and employee engagement are now her professional focus. Her workshops with internal and external clients are designed to tease out and maximize individual and team strengths while raising awareness of the blind spots our priorities can create. Whether wealth-related or health-related, success is driven by the individual ability to bring the best out in others: to inspire, influence, and resolve conflict.

Skye McKennon, PharmD, BCPS, CSM-GEI is an educator, pharmacist, and author with a passion to empower others to live healthier, more intentional, and resilient lives. Dr. McKennon is the thread director of pharmacology and interprofessional education at the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, where she also serves as a clinical associate professor. She is a licensed pharmacist and board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist with over a decade of experience as a faculty member. Dr. McKennon has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals, co-authored six pharmacy textbooks, and authored multiple book chapters. She has presented her work at international and national symposiums.

Andrew Smith, PhD is a California-based psychologist who provides training and consultations to medical systems to improve personnel operations and physician well-being. He also works individually with physicians to promote their well-being and career goals. Prior to starting his own business, he taught for 13 years at a county hospital as a clinical faculty in their family medicine residency program. In addition to teaching residents how to diagnose and treat mental illness, he taught patient interviewing skills and how to work with difficult patients. He was also a hospital-wide leader in promoting physician wellness and burnout-prevention strategies. In separate sessions this weekend, he will be presenting on preventing workplace violence and building a culture of wellness in medical settings.

Anthony Dorsch, MBA, MHA is the founder and principal of Congrue Consulting, dedicated to making financial leadership congruent with the organization’s mission, strategy, and operations to achieve excellence in financial planning and analysis. Anthony has over 30 years of experience leading finance teams and advising health care executives and board members. His background includes CFO leadership positions at corporate, regional, and community levels for comprehensive finance operations, financial planning and analysis, payer contracting, strategic planning, and business development. He is also a clinical instructor at the University of Washington School of Public Health’s Executive Master of Health Administration Program.

Laura Jordhen, MD is a family physician with home-based practice HouseCall Providers. She loves the individual attention and comprehensive care that a home-based practice allows her to give to her patients. Her leadership experience includes serving as the chair of family medicine, chair of infection control, and associate faculty member for the Family Medicine Fellowship at United Family Hospital in Shanghai, China where she practiced from 2016 through 2020.

Ryan Washington is a distinguished professional with over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness field. With a robust background in meditation, wellness programming, and three years dedicated to breathwork facilitation, Ryan is a transformative guide in the realm of emotional well-being. He showcases a unique blend of traditional and holistic healing techniques, fostering mindfulness and emotional well-being in diverse audiences. His dedication to excellence, coupled with experience working with diverse clients, including athletes, executives, and those navigating major life transitions, positions him as a sought-after authority of emotional coaching and well-being.

Alex Ding, MD, MS, MBA, is a board-certified diagnostic and interventional radiologist and associate vice president for physician strategy and medical affairs at Humana. In his role at Humana, he leads a team focused on physician engagement, empowerment, advocacy, and wellness; advancement of value-based care; and executing on enterprise-level clinical culture. Dr. Ding is an assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and an AMA Board of Trustee.

Joel Bervell is a Ghanaian-American medical student and science communicator, popularly known on social media as the “Medical Mythbuster.” Through viral social media content, he addresses racial disparities, the hidden history of medicine, and biases in health care. With more than a million followers across social media and more than 200 million video impressions, he enlightens audiences about health care's neglect of marginalized groups through stories and studies. Bervell's influence extends beyond social media, having served on the White House Health Care Leaders in Social Media council among others. He has been honored as a Smithsonian Channel “Cyclebreaker,” Scientific American “Revolutionary,” and a 40 under 40 Leader in Minority Health.

Nikki Tennerman, LICSW, MBA is a health and human services leader with a background in complex care, early childhood development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Nikki is a senior project director with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement where she leads North American networks and supports projects related to health equity, particularly with payers and health plans. She was previously the administrative director for the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion at Boston Children’s Hospital. Nikki maintains a small telehealth private practice in the greater Boston area that focuses on BIPOC and LGBTQ mental health empowerment.

CME Credit

Accreditation with Commendation

The WSMA is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA PRA Category 1 Credit

The WSMA designates this live activity for a maximum of 9.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Lake Chelan Family Fun


There are dozens of wineries and tasting rooms in and around Chelan. Here are some local favorites. Please note many of the wineries may charge for wine tastings and reservations are often preferred, so please call ahead.

Cairdeas Winery – 509.687.0555

Larc Hill – 509.255.3938

Mellisoni Vineyards – 509.415.8320

Nefarious Cellars – 509.682.9505

Sigillo Cellars – 509.888.5713

Tsillan Cellars – 509.682.9463

Ventimiglia Cellars – 425.466.2788


Andante Italian Style – 509.888.4855

The Bistro at Lake Chelan – 509.699.7223

Sorrento’s Ristorante – 509.682.9463


Lake Rider Sports - 509.885.4767

Chelan Electric Bikes - 509.683.2125


Chelan Lanes (open daily at noon) - 509.682.2251

Movie Theater

Ruby Theater - 509.682.5016

History Museum

Lake Chelan Historical Museum - 509.682.5644


Lake Chelan Golf Course - 509.682.8026

Bear Mountain Golf Course - 509.682.8200


The WSMA Leadership Development Conference will be held at Campbell’s Resort on Lake Chelan at 104 W. Woodin Ave., Chelan, WA 98816. Although Campbell’s is currently sold out, they have rooms available at their other nearby property, the Midtowner Motel (call 509.682.4051 and reference group #789270). If making a reservation at the Midtowner, you can request being waitlisted at Campbell’s and they will call you if a room opens up. It’s not unusual for rooms to open up closer to the meeting date.

There are many other properties in close proximity to Campbell’s, including hotels and house/condo rentals through Airbnb or VRBO.

To avoid cancellation fees, Campbell’s requires you to cancel seven days before your confirmed arrival date.


The WSMA may have a photographer or videographer on-site at this event to gather imagery for use by the WSMA in its communications materials and channels, as well as for media outreach. These images will be the property of the WSMA, and the WSMA will not sell or otherwise market event imagery. If you have any questions regarding imagery taken at a WSMA event, please contact Milana McLead at

Corporate Partners

The WSMA wishes to thank the following corporate partners for their generous contribution. Learn more about becoming a partner.

Exclusive Premier Partner

Founded in 1981 under the auspices of the WSMA, Physicians Insurance is the Northwest's leading medical professional liability insurance company, physician-owned and exclusively endorsed to this day by the WSMA. For over 30 years, Physicians Insurance has remained the stable, committed and local insurer for physicians, clinics, facilities and hospitals, providing risk-management consulting, continuing medical education and claims administration services to more than 7,000 members in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming.


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