Penn Medicine and Wharton: Launching Executive Health Care Leadership Program

caption: Sigal Barsadecaption: Caryn Lermancaption: J. Larry JamesonLessons in organizational change management, team-building and negotiation are on the agenda in a new program designed to fortify leaders in academic medicine and health care for success in an uncertain environment for the field. Penn Medicine and Wharton Executive Education at the Wharton School are joining forces to launch an executive health care leadership program that will offer participants a strategic toolkit to cement their ability to lead at a time when science, technology and economics are reshaping the practice of medicine and altering the field’s economic landscape.

The program, known as Leadership in a New Era of Health Care, is designed for senior-level leaders in health care and academic medicine—doctors, nurses, scientists and executives—from across the world. Beginning with its first four-day course in March 2019, the program will provide participants with targeted leadership development experiences and practical skills to drive visionary change in their organizations.

“A commitment to innovation is at the core of everything we do at Penn Medicine, and we’re dedicated to instilling that same passion for improvement and evolution in our approach to leadership,” said J. Larry Jameson, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. “Health-care leaders today need a broader skill set: They must be strong negotiators, keen students of business and have the emotional intelligence necessary to lead diverse teams who are evolving our approaches to patient-centric care and ensuring that our health systems continue to thrive in an era of some uncertainty for our field.”

Leadership in a New Era of Health Care will be led by faculty from both Wharton and Penn Medicine. Presenters will include deans and CEOs from the nation’s top academic medical centers, chairs of large clinical departments, nursing leaders and senior executives who have built dynamic academic-industry partnerships and overseen transformative new facility projects. Participants will also learn from renowned experts in organizational development and conflict resolution.

“Wharton Executive Education excels at providing a holistic approach to leadership development,” said professor Jagmohan S. Raju, vice dean of Wharton Executive Education. “The US spends more than 18% of its GDP on health care and nearly one in every eight Americans are employed in this sector. Today’s health-care sector requires leaders who are interdisciplinary thinkers with the capability to envision the future, and this program is going to help them do just that.”

Participants will have the opportunity to develop advanced leadership skills through a combination of interactive workshops and dynamic presentations. Areas of focus will include organizational and cultural change, negotiation and conflict resolution, relationship management, coalition-building, communication and strategic decision-making. The program is also designed to support quick-start change management. Through a unique, real-time health-care challenge, participants will get feedback from peers and faculty to help tackle their most pressing on the job issues and be prepared to initiate new plans when they return to their institutions.

“We need to help our health-care leaders stay agile and build their capacity to pivot and respond strategically to changes in the field, from new digital health advances to changes in reimbursement,” said Caryn Lerman, vice dean for Strategic Initiatives in the Perelman School of Medicine and John H. Glick Professor in Cancer Research. “Today’s academic medicine leaders and health-care executives are highly knowledgeable and motivated. We’ve designed this program to leverage those qualities and arm them with the high-impact skills required to drive real change in the organizations they lead.”

The program builds on ideas Dr. Lerman and Dr. Jameson outlined in the New England Journal of Medicine in June 2018, when they called on academic health systems to make leadership development an organizational priority – an emphasis that they say will also pay off in improved patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.

For more information, visit