About Healthforce Center's Institute for Physician Leadership

Physician leaders at a table discussing Healthforce Center's physician leadership development.

Why Participate in a Physician Leadership Institute?

Designing a health care system that better meets societal needs provides a tremendous opportunity for meaningful change. Inspiring and developing physician leaders are key strategies to catalyze these efforts during dynamic times. The UCSF Institute for Physician Leadership (IPL) program provides a vehicle for such an investment.

Though this program is no longer active, learn about our other leadership training programs here and our research on physicians here.

The program also fosters a network of physician leaders that promotes ongoing collaboration and a sense of community across the health care system. Since 2008, more than 170 physicians from 53 different organizations have completed the IPL experience, representing a variety of practice settings and clinical disciplines.

What Makes IPL Unique?

  • Personal. IPL utilizes several psychometric instruments (e.g., 360° reviews, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) to emphasize the importance of self-awareness as a tool for lifelong leadership development.
  • Diverse. IPL creates exposure to a network of colleagues from different organizations, care delivery models, and practice settings, promoting sharing of ideas and best practices.
  • Customized. IPL translates key leadership concepts into familiar frameworks for physicians. All topics, case studies, and role playing are designed to foster immediate application.
  • Practical. IPL combines four, in-person seminars with significant distance learning to minimize time away from one’s practice setting.
  • Reputable. IPL leverages UCSF’s internationally recognized health science institution and draws on the expertise of Healthforce Center, which possesses over 20 years of experience in leadership development programs.

Who Should Enroll for Physician Leadership Training?

Health care is facing an unprecedented time of change and uncertainty, which is providing tremendous opportunities to shape the future of our delivery system. Physicians who are seeking an opportunity to contribute to a vision for change should consider training.


The IPL program consists of the following elements:

In-Person Seminars

  • Four dynamic core seminars taught by nationally recognized teachers and facilitators.
  • The seminars are focused on small-group learning, role playing, case studies, and other exercises that allow for immediate application of new skills and tools into daily leadership behaviors.

  Executive Coaching

  • Participants receive professional development coaching with a certified executive coach.
  • Discussion of personal assessments and self-identified goals provide a customized experience for individual growth and development.

  Leadership Project

  • Participants complete an organizationally aligned improvement initiative that allows for a systematic approach to project development, implementation, and evaluation.
  • The mentored project serves as a vehicle to apply new skills, tools, and leadership behaviors.

Small Group Distance Learning

  • Participants are organized into small groups (“pods”) to promote peer learning and mentoring, to build a smaller networking community within the cohort, and to collaborate on intersession activities.
  • Each pod is assigned a pod advisor, an experienced physician who facilitates a teaching and learning environment, provides mentorship for projects, and serves as an additional development resource.

Intersession Activities

  • Between the core seminars, participants are assigned selected readings, practical applications of seminar topics, and the use of a Leadership Lab Book to solidify important lessons learned.
  • Designated activities are done independently, while others are done virtually via pod meetings.

Successful completion of the program awards up to 82 CME credits.  

The IPL program uses a use a multifaceted approach to deliver the curriculum:

  • knowledge acquisition (didactics, readings)
  • experiential simulation (role plays, case studies, simulations)
  • application (improvement initiative)
  • reflection and feedback (smaller learning group, executive coaching)

Curriculum topics include:

  • Self-awareness and change
  • Vision and the environment
  • Developing and managing a team
  • Strategy and stakeholders
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Managing change
  • Decision making
  • Power, influence, and political savvy
  • Communicating up, down, and sideways
  • Negotiations and business planning
  • Sustaining, embedding, and moving forward
  • Developing organizational strategies and goals
  • Executive communication
  • Balancing personal and professional life

Click here to view the IPL program curriculum at a glance    

The IPL program has consistently demonstrated its value to participants and their organizations. One hundred percent of alumni say they are more effective leaders as a result of the program and all say they would recommend it to a peer. Quantitative data of improvement participants have reported in specific competencies can be found here. Below are a few participant testimonials: “IPL was a transformative experience. It opened my horizons in both personal and professional development. I am thankful for the tools, instruction, and personal connections that will keep me going long after graduation.” – Eva Balint, MD, Brown and Toland “The IPL leadership course opens your eyes to skills that are developed and practiced on a daily basis in other industries but are lacking in medicine. At this time when health care needs internal leadership to guide the direction for the future, practicing health professionals need to develop and use these skills. Thanks, IPL, for a course that will help me for the rest of my career.” – Anthony Luke, MD, MPH, UCSF   “IPL was one of the most positive educational programs of my career. It has made me feel I can take on a role within an organization to effect large-scale change, rather than one patient at a time. I have become involved in multiple projects, partly because I am more capable of leading and developing ideas, and partly because I am more confident taking on these responsibilities. Also, a great networking experience getting to know a group of interesting, diverse physicians who I believe can be great resources in the future.” – Jack Dobkin, MD, CareMore “My organization has now given me lead positions at new offices and is confident that I will bring back the learnings from this course and implement them to improve team spirit.” – Madhuri Desai, MD, HealthCare Partners Medical Group “I created a CKD/ARF program which will hopefully be implemented region wide. The program helped me align with the vision of my organization and senior leadership.” – Mohit Shahani, MD, Kaiser Permanente  

The Institute for Physician Leadership is an expired program of Healthforce Center at UCSF. For more of our leadership training programs, please visit here.

Alameda Health System

Allergy and Asthma Medical Group of the Bay Area

AltaMed Health Services Corporation

Anthem Blue Cross

AppleCare Medical Group

Brown and Toland, IPA

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Cambridge Health Alliance

CareMore Health Plan

Children’s Hospital and Research Center at Oakland

Community Health Clinic Ole

Community Regional Medical Centers

Dominican Hospital

East Valley Community Health Center

The Everett Clinic and Providence Regional Medical Center

Facey Medical Group

Fidelis Senior Care

Healthcare Partners Medical Group

Health Net

Highland Hospital

Hill Physicians Medical Group

Kaiser Permanente

Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center

Loma Linda University Family Medical Group Loma

Maxine Hall Health Center

Medstar Washington Hospital Center

Monterey Peninsula Radiological Medical Group

Moreno Valley Women’s and Family Clinic

Northbay Medical Center

Palo Alto Medical Foundation Group

The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.

Physicians Medical Group of Santa Cruz County

Primecare of Inland Valley IPA

Redwoods Rural Health Center

Sacred Heart Medical Center

San Francisco Department of Public Health

San Francisco VA Medical Center

San Joaquin General Hospital

San Mateo Medical Center

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

Sequoia Hospital

St. Agnes Medical Center

St. John’s Well Child and Family Center

St. Jude Heritage Medical Group

St. Mary’s Medical Center

Share Our Selves Community Health Center

University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, San Francisco

University of Colorado

Urology Center of Southern California

Vails Family Practice

Wilshire Oncology Medical Group

Featured Testimonial

The Institute for Physician Leadership was a remarkable opportunity to engage with emerging leaders of different organizations. The faculty and speakers were thoughtful and inspirational. It has dramatically improved my leadership abilities and confidence.
Jeffrey Davis, MD
Kaiser Permanente
Institute for Physician Leadership Alumni
View All Testimonials »