Master Class in Family Doctor Leadership: Evaluating an Innovative Program

David White, June C. Carroll, Sara Crann, Marla Shapiro, Cynthia Whitehead, Risa Freeman, Richard H. Glazier, Danielle Martin, Michael Kidd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: In family medicine, leadership is critical for health care delivery, advancing curricula, research, and quality improvement. Systematic reviews of leadership development programs in health care identify limitations, calling for innovative designs and rigorous assessment. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of applying master class principles to leadership development in academic family medicine. METHODS: We used mixed methods to assess the impact of an innovative master class program on 15 emerging leaders in a large academic department of family medicine. The program consisted of five sessions where family physician masters shared their wisdom, techniques, and feedback with promising leaders. Quantitative evaluation involved participants’ ratings of each session’s content and delivery using a 5-point Likert scale. We assessed postcourse semistructured interviews with participants qualitatively using descriptive thematic content analysis. RESULTS: Individual sessions were highly evaluated, with a combined mean of 4.82/5. Qualitative thematic analysis identified self-perceived increased effectiveness in leadership activities; increased confidence as a leader; increased motivation to be a leader; and perceptions of value from the pro-gram, contributing to what participants described as unexpected potential change within themselves. Themes related to effectiveness of the program were practical advice; networking; diverse topics; accessible speakers sharing personal stories; and small-group, informal, early-evening format. CONCLUSIONS: Master class concepts can be adapted to leadership development in academic family medicine, with evidence of early positive impact on participants’ self-perception of leadership skills and confidence. Further research is warranted to assess organizational impact and applicability to other settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-707
Number of pages7
JournalFamily Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Family medicine
  • Health care delivery
  • Family physicians
  • Leadership


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