I really miss attending the physician leadership annual conference of the AAPL. For the past 2 ½ years, I have been consumed with starting a new urgent care center north of Chicago. In addition to interviewing, hiring, writing policies and procedures, and training staff, this required that I study for the American Board of Family Medicine exam (thankfully, I passed!).

It also required a thorough review of workers compensation and occupational medicine. And I needed to take a mandatory course and exam by the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners in order to conduct physical examinations for interstate commercial motor vehicle drivers.

As a result, I was not able to attend any recent American Association for Physician Leadership Annual Conference or Institute.

However, I am now registered to attend the 2017 Spring Institute and Annual Meeting! They run back to back from April 18 through April 23, in New York City. And my wife will be attending with me because she loves New York.

As the name implies, the event is actually two meetings in one.

The AAPL Spring Institute

This part runs from April 19 through April 21.

The AAPL lists the following benefits of attending:

  • Live interaction with world-class faculty
  • Learning with peers
  • Opportunities for networking
  • Concentrated learning (time efficient)
  • Fun group activities
  • Personal education advising sessions

The Spring Institute focuses on in-depth study of topics from its Physician in Management Series. I have participated in several of these educational activities that in the past. They address management topics such as:

  • Quality Improvement
  • Negotiation
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Teamwork
physician leadership annual conference leader

Physician leader Atul Gawande

The presenters are always polished and very knowledgeable. For this meeting, I heartily recommend sessions presented by:

  • David Nash
  • William “Marty” Martin
  • Kevin O’Connor

Each of them is very engaging and effective in meeting the objectives of the presentations.

For the beginner physician leader, it is probably best to start with Managing Physician Performance or Three Faces of Quality.

As a more seasoned participant, I have decided to attend the sessions devoted to Resilient Leadership and Coaching and Mentoring Physicians to Higher Performance.

The American Association for Physician Leadership Annual Conference

This year’s Annual Meeting officially runs from April 21 through April 23. The educational sessions don’t begin until Saturday morning, April 22.

It is designed differently from the Institute. There are two keynote presentations, and two workshops. The rest of the educational material is presented in the form of Peer-Led Learning Labs.

What is a Peer-Led Learning Lab?

It is one of forty-seven 20-minute presentations covering the following categories:

  • Leadership
  • Healthcare Organizations
  • Finance
  • Communication
  • Careers
  • Management
  • Patient Care/Quality
  • Health Care Professionals
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Health Law and Policy

As I look at the list of topics, several appear quite interesting. I recognize several of the presenters. They all currently hold leadership positions in many different types of organizations.

I can also recommend the session by Jeremy Blanchard. He will be discussing Language, A Fulcrum for Physician Engagement and Culture Transformation on Saturday, April 22nd, between 10:30 and 11:30 AM in the Madison Square Room (according to the schedule I have been provided). I interviewed him for this blog back in January.

There will also be opportunities for networking, and other formal and informal events.

I will be helping out as an “Ambassador” for the meetings. That means I will be introducing Edward A. Walker at the start of Coaching and Mentoring Physicians to Higher Performance on Thursday and Friday, and helping to manage the peer presentations Saturday morning in the Bowery Room (three presentations each for Lab 1 and Lab 2).

I would love if any of my readers stopped by and said hello.

How I'm Preparing for This Conference

There are some things can be done to help maximize the value of this or any other conference. I’ll admit that I have not always followed my plan for this meeting.

That's in part because I am an introvert and find it difficult to strike up conversations with strangers. But networking is probably as important as the content I will be trying to learn during the meeting.


  • I want to be intentional with this conference; to participate with curiosity and a willingness to meet other participants.
  • As a committed introvert, I will overcome my hesitance to engage with others.
  • I will strive to remain coachable.
  • I commit to speaking up and contributing verbally when asked to do so.

physician leadership annual meeting networkingGoals

I am approaching the conference with specific goals in mind. My primary goals are to:

  • Learn new ways to be a more resilient leader;
  • Achieve a deep understanding of coaching and how to effectively coach others to achieve their personal and career goals;
  • Meet at least five new colleagues from the AAPL that might consider being interviewed for this blog in the near future;
  • Pick up some practical tips from the Peer-Led Learning Lab in the Leadership and Management content areas;
  • Get to know more of the AAPL staff by working as an Ambassador; and,
  • Promote this blog to at least one hundred conference participants, in networking events, before and after presentations, and at any exhibits that may be held at the meetings.
physician leadership annual conference business card

Recent business card to bring to the meeting.

Further Preparation

One of my Institute sessions requires completing pre-conference work (a personality inventory), so I have already completed that .

I have taken a closer look at the faculty for my sessions and have looked them up in more detail on LinkedIn, as a way to better engage with them during the meetings.

My Advice

I recommend that you seriously consider attending this meeting if you are in a leadership position or thinking about moving into one.

Next Steps

My next steps are to:

  1. Check that my flights and hotel room are confirmed;
  2. Get all my work (including blog posts) caught up, prior to departing on April 18;
  3. Review any instructions from the AAPL regarding my role as an Ambassador;
  4. Take copious notes at the meeting;
  5. Write a blog post or two based on inspiration from the meeting.

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Feel free to email me directly at john.jurica.md@gmail.com with any questions about anything. I am here to help you excel as a physician leader.

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Thanks so much and see you in the next post!