Leadership Seminar for Surgical Residents

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There will be a 6-month leadership seminar for you as surgical subspecialty residents 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 6 months of your surgical subspecialty residency 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 residents will all meet together one or two times per month with selected faculty. The seminar will be divided into modules focusing on different aspects of leadership.  There will be repeated reflection, reading, and observational assignments to motivate development. Mentoring will be an essential part of the program.

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
  • 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 residency. 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 residency will be motivation enough. The reality of life beyond the walls of your residency 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:

  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 6 month leadership seminar contributes to your lifelong career goal of engagement in patient safety and quality improvement.

Your formative assessments will be in seminar and through summative assessments. Similarly, you will assess the program module by module and summatively 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.

Formative Assessments

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

I. Individual Leader’s Understanding of Themselves, Style, strengths, and Vulnerabilities

  • PRISM Profile
  • Kolb Learning Assessment
  • Case Scenarios

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

  • NOTSS, ANTS, SPLINTS scoring
  • Facilitated discussion group review


  • Real Event Analysis and Learning (REAL) of operative case in OR.
  • Case Scenarios

Course Director: Peter Waters, MD, MMSc

Course Coordinator: Sarah Sarnie

Surgical Subspecialty Departmental Educators

Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine:
Peter Waters, MD, MMSc
Donald Bae, MD
Collin May, MD

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:

Collin May, MD-Faculty Lead
Michelle Mo, MD-Fellow Faculty
Sravya Challa
Cameron Egan
Theodore Guild
Claudia Ghisa (1/1-6/30)
Thomas Seaver (1/24-4/3)
Alyssa Rothman (4/4-6/19)

Don Bae, MD-Faculty Lead  
Blake Montgomery, MD-Fellow Lead
Kirsten Ross, MD-Fellow Lead
Christina Liu
Laura Lu
Zina Model
Kathleen Leinweber (1/1/-3/31)
Phillip Snodgrass (4/1-6/30)