Leadership Seminar for Surgical Fellows

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Starting in August 2021, there will be a year-long leadership seminar for you as surgical subspecialty fellows at Boston Children’s Hospital. The reasons for the leadership seminar are: (1) the present inadequacy in team communication and leadership education and training surgeons receive early in their career and; (2) the high risk surgeons and their patients face if they and their teams perform poorly in the operating room due to non-technical elements of care delivery. 

The seminar will run the full year of your surgical subspecialty fellowship in coordination with your technical training and surgical content education. The design of the seminar is for interweaving of leadership skill acquisition and practice with your surgical training before you become independent faculty and practitioners responsible for your own operating room team performance.  Reading, reflection, visual observation, role modeling, simulation, and real case performance will all be used to acquire non-technical skill and execute on surgical coordinated team based care.

The orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology, plastic surgery and urology surgical fellows will all meet together monthly with selected faculty. The seminar will be divided into modules with quarterly assessments of competency progression.  There will be repeated reflection, reading, and observational assignments to motivate leadership development. Mentoring will be an essential part of the program. There will be cross subspecialty mentoring to maintain confidentiality.

Leadership Seminar Overview

Preconception or Misconception

  • Leaders are Born
  • Leadership is Intuitive

Building Expertise

  • Reading, observing, discussing, reflecting
  • Reading on leadership and management
  • Observations, reflections cumulative throughout the year


  • Participating in surgery with progressive responsibility and structured feedback
  • Simulation Performance with feedback
  • REAL performance (independent surgery) with feedback
  • Case Scenarios

The educational plan is for learning to be transformative in affect, attitude and behavioral domains. Passive and active exercises are designed to dispel preconceptions and misconceptions on leaders and leadership. Building knowledge first, and then progressing to building expertise. Therefore, as the seminar moves through modules, role playing, audio-video review and environmental observations both in simulation and in real working environment will be used.

The lack of protected time could be a limiting factor to your reading and to completion of complex problem based or team based learnings. However, the seminar is coincidental with your clinical fellowship. The reading will be limited but worthwhile. We hope the influence of engaged, caring mentors, the commitment of your chiefs to this program, and the reality of your looming future beyond fellowship will be motivation enough. The reality of life beyond the walls of your fellowship will heighten your engagement and learning. The seminar provides you the opportunity for peer review and real time mentor feedback confidentially in domains not always provided.

The learning objectives of the course are as follows:

  1. achieve sustainable advances in your leadership and communication skills.
  2. understand and recognize how attitudes, behaviors and varying skill levels (you and others) contribute to operating room efficiency, safety and quality.
  3. recognize and understand your essential role as a leader of the overall operating room performance.
  4. understand how this year long leadership seminar contributes to your lifelong career goal of engagement in patient safety and quality improvement.

Your formative assessments will be monthly in seminar and the summative assessments will be quarterly. Similarly, you will assess the program module by module and summatively quarterly and at the end of the seminar. You all will help us make this better and better as we go on to next year’s seminar and beyond.

Finally, you will become “teammates” in many ways, a very important aspect of leadership.

Monthly Formative Assessments

We will limit reading to a few articles and/or videos per week. The in seminar discussion will be robust, case based.

Leadership Building Blocks Quarterly Assessments

I. August – September 2021

  1. Individual Leader’s Understanding of Themselves

  1. Style, strengths, and vulnerabilities

  1. PRISM Profile
  2. Kolb Learning Assessment
  3. Case Scenarios

II. November 2021

  1. Observational videos STRATA BWH/ACS, SIMPeds Ortho BCH

  1. NOTSS, ANTS, SPLINTS scoring
  2. Facilitated discussion group review

III. February 2022

  1. Simulation Session Operative Case led by Fellow with video review
  2. Case Scenarios

IV. April-May 2022

  1. Real Event Analysis and Learning (REAL) of operative case in OR led by Fellow
  2. Case Scenarios

Course Director: Peter Waters, MD, MMSc

Course Consultants: Chris Newell

Course Coordinator: Sarah Sarnie

Surgical Subspecialty Departmental Educators

Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine:OtolaryngologySimPEDSPlastic SurgeryUrology
Peter Waters, MD, MMScMichael Cunningham, MD, FACSPeter Weinstock MD, PhDIngrid Ganske, MDCarlos, Estrada, MD, MBA
Dennis Kramer, MDGi Lee, MD, EdMMark Green, DDS, MDCaleb Nelson, MD, MPH
Benton Heyworth, MD
Benjamin Shore MD, MPH, FRCSC

In order to facilitate activity beyond in-person sessions throughout the seminar, we have set each team up with an online group space. Group spaces enable team members to upload/download document to share among group members, conduct online discussion, and plan events. Select a team to visit its group page:

Ben Shore
Mark Green

Caled Nelson
Dennis Kramer
Michael Cunningham

Ben Heyworth
Gi Lee
Ingrid Ganske
Carlos Estrada

Michelle Mo
Magdalena Tarchala
Lilun Li
Ted Lee
Blake Montgomery
John Roaten
Brian Manzi
Elizabeth Scott
Emmanouil Grigoriou
Joseph Peterson
Kirsten Ross
Melissa Kanack
Hatim Thaker

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