Skip links

Leadership Opportunities for Physicians and Medical Students

What should physicians, recent graduates, and medical students do to acquire and develop leadership skills?


As a doctor, I plan to run practices, lead teams, and manage executive boards, all across the globe. It’s ambitious, I know. I prefer to reach for the stars.

To fulfill this vision, I decided that I would strengthen my leadership skills before I started residency. While searching google for leadership courses pertinent to medicine/health, I noticed that courses cater to two major groups of people:

1) US medical students with leadership courses integrated into their curriculum, and

2) health care professionals or executives (for hospitals, companies, startups, etc.)

There are several US medical schools with leadership courses integrated into their curriculum to organically grow these skills in rising physicians. However, a huge gap exists among US-IMGs, NON-US-IMGs, and US medical students (who lack leadership courses already integrated into their curriculum); these groups could benefit from leadership development programs outfitted for this audience.  

What should medical students/recent graduates do to acquire and develop their leadership skills?


These future doctors often have insight on unique cultural challenges involving medicine and health. Their diverse upbringing and life experiences enable them to have awareness and understanding of cultures beyond the one in which they attend medical school or seek residency. Honed leadership skills would greatly benefit these future doctors in propagating global awareness and change in medicine and health. 


An ideal solution is for an organization (like AAPL or others) to create a program catered to medical students that is affordable and incorporates specific objectives.

Among available leadership programs for physicians, previous studies have identified some of the weaknesses: “lack of programs that integrate non-physician and physician professionals, a limited use of more advanced training tools such as interactive learning and feedback in order to develop greater self-awareness, and an overly narrow focus on individual-level rather than system-level outcomes.”  

In my search, the only program I could find for medical students is from American Medical Student Association. My research on their leadership program has come up empty; therefore, I cannot vet the program just yet. The AMSA leadership program states improving the following skillsets:

-Developing Vision and Maintaining Strategy

-Vital Communication Skills

-Understanding Finance

-Project Management Fundamentals

-Using Delegation and Motivation

-Meaningful Advocacy

-Self-Awareness and Leadership: Capstone

I do intend on exploring this program and possibly enrolling into the 8-month long course, provided it is something I can feasibly incorporate into my schedule.

UPDATE: I could not enroll in this program because I am not from an American Medical School.

This only further corroborates my point that a huge gap exists for International Medical Graduates seeking leadership opportunities.

I have created a table with a brief list of programs (not comprehensive) that you can find at the bottom of this post. Details and links for AMSA are found in the table, along with some notes/requirements for each of the other programs.

An Example of a banner with a button

Get the book for free


There is a need for more affordable leadership programs/courses for medical students who wish to enrich their skills. At the moment, US-medical students, and recent graduates from US-medical schools can find opportunities to hone their skills through AMSA’s Leadership Program. I bring this topic to light so I can ask some important questions:

How do we grow more thought leadership among aspiring physicians?

Which organization(s) can step up to fill this void for medical students?

Can we, as students, organize to fill this void ourselves?

Are there interest groups, current thought leaders, or organizations that can provide support for leadership among medical students?


High-school students,



Union College – Leadership in Medicine (LIM) Program


-Earn 3 degrees in 8 years 

(BS, MS or MBA, and MD)

Top class rank


-High SAT scores

-Clinical/volunteer experience

-CASPer test completion

Pre-med students,


Medical students,

Recent med graduates

AMSA Leadership Program


(American Medical Student Association)

-AMSA membership


-Certificate Qualifying examination

-8 months long





AAPL – Physician Leadership 


-Can acquire masters degrees, and 

-Can acquire Certified Physician Executive degree

-Courses can be pricey

CTI Leadership

-Variety of services and more personalized curriculum to create physician leaders 

eCornell Courses/Certificates

-Choose from 5 ivy league certificates related to healthcare and business leadership

-Online and live courses available


-Requirements vary per program

-Online courses

Healthcare or senior executives including physicians, nurses, and administratorsSamson Global Leadership Academy – Cleveland Clinic


Leadership Courses – NYU Stern

Health Care Leadership – Capella University

**Only a few links here, but a google search will show you that there are many opportunities for healthcare leadership courses catered to this demographic**

-Live course


-Online/live courses

-Online courses

IMG – International Medical Graduates

US-IMGs – United States International Medical Graduates (rotations in USA)

NON-US-IMGs/Foreign IMGs – Foreign International Medical Graduates

MS3/MS4 – 3rd and 4th year medical students

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.