Dan Lowenstein, MD, UCSF’s executive vice chancellor and provost, has served in many leadership roles including director of the UCSF Epilepsy Center, dean of medical education at Harvard Medical School and president of the American Epilepsy Society. Despite this career trajectory, he had never undergone formal leadership training until last year when he reached out to Healthforce Center. We spoke with Lowenstein about his experiences and related insights.
Q: Why did you decide to do leadership training?
A: I was never someone who sought out leadership roles, but I have been asked to take on leadership positions by virtue of my experiences and expertise. About a year into taking the position as executive vice chancellor and provost, I decided that I should be more thoughtful about the actual experience of being a leader. You can be a world-class tennis player and you still need a coach. I wish I would’ve done it earlier in my career, but it’s never too late.
Q: What were some highlights of your leadership training?
A: Doing a personality inventory was very helpful and something I had never done before. For example, I did not realize how I lean toward the side of introversion compared to extroversion. I think a lot of people (even myself) might categorize me as fairly extroverted but, in reality, I’m not. I also learned more about how I engage with conflict and I’m working on expanding those skills.
Q: It sounds like a lot of this has been about self-awareness.
A: Yes, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. As long as you’re willing to keep your eyes open, listen and take things in, the growing part of life never seems to stop.
Q: Why is leadership such an important part of UCSF’s identity?
A: Leadership is about helping to create a vision for the future, and working with the members of your community to achieve that vision. Our goal at UCSF is to lessen the suffering in the world related to lack of health and well-being. Whether you’re a frontline nurse in an intensive care unit or a scientist trying to understand the physical structure of a protein, we need you to be part of the group of leaders who are looking toward the future and envisioning a better tomorrow.
Take the Next Step: Leadership Training Opportunities
Informed leaders can help shape the future of health care. For those interested in leadership training, UCSF department chairs and division chiefs from all four schools can nominate faculty to participate in Clinical Faculty Leadership Express (C-FLEX), a new leadership program sponsored by the Academic Senate Clinical Affairs Committee (CAC) and delivered by Healthforce Center. The nomination deadline is September 26. Nominators can complete this survey.
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