Physician Leadership Development Program

Sabrina Neeley, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director

PLDP Executive Council

The Physician Leadership Development Program (PLDP) is a unique composition of five years of dual-degree students committed to leadership in health care. The PLDP Executive Council was initiated by students to integrate their skills and interests as well as to collaborate to promote their professional, academic and leadership development.


Embracing the unique opportunities and increased responsibilities of students bridging the institutions in which we learn, our goal is to develop formal networks through communication and collaboration among students in the Physician Leadership Development Program providing a representative presence and influential voice within the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine; the Center for Global Health; the WSU Graduate School; and into the greater community.

Executive Council

PLDP Executive Council officers are:


Questions about the PLDP program may be directed to the current PLDP Executive Council. We are happy to share our experiences with the PLDP program.

Program Accomplishments

Guest lecture series

Aurora Lambert: December 8, 2010

Ms. Lambert, former president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, visited Wright State University to discuss her experience with current students. As a senior executive officer for the former Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, her input was invaluable in facilitating the transition of the Jewish Hospital from the Health Alliance to Mercy Health Partners. Ms. Lambert's impressive career has spanned nearly four decades. Her insight into the current and future state of health care today provided medical students a unique glimpse into what their future careers may hold.

Dr. Brett Smith: May 18, 2011

Dr. Brett Smith discussed his thoughts on social entrepreneurship and health. Dr. Smith, founder of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Miami University, is an expert in the role of social entrepreneurs in global health initiatives. He has a business background and a passion for social justice. He travels the world meeting with and talking to people about innovative solutions to persistent social problems (hunger, poverty, education) that create social value through sustainable, systemic change.

Celebrating Life and Health Fair

Every spring, the PLDP sponsors and runs an interactive booth at the Dayton Celebrating Life and Health Fair. PLDP students measure height and weight, in order to calculate the BMI of fair attendees. Over 5,000 Dayton residents attend the health fair each year.

Children’s Health Festival

Every August, the PLDP sponsors and runs an interactive booth at the Children’s Health Festival. Over 600 children attend the event to learn about nutrition, physical activity, and safety.

Documentary Screenings

The Weight of the Nation – May 10, 14, 17, & 21, 2012

The PLDP hosted a series of screenings of the HBO four-part documentary series. The miniseries examined Consequences, Choices, Children in Crisis and Challenges. Each segment of the film featured case studies, interviews with experts around the nation, and individuals and families struggling with obesity. After each screening, a panel of local experts offered their views on the content and fielded questions about the movie.

Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare – September 19, 2012

An estimated 140 students, faculty, healthcare professionals and community members attended an advance screening of the Sundance film ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. WSU Boonshoft School of Medicine Physician Leadership Development Program, the WSU Chapter of the American Medical Association, the WSU chapter of the American Medical Student Association and the Military Medical Interest Group hosted the screening.

Two medical students led a facilitated discussion with the audience following the film. The directors hoped to compel Americans to empower themselves to be healthier, even before they become ill. The local Call to Action was “Empower someone to be healthy." The STEPS Initiative was introduced as one avenue to address the call to action. The STEPS Initiative is a multi-disciplinary group of healthcare professionals and students that use motivational interviewing to encourage individuals with chronic conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) to make healthier lifestyle choices by setting attainable goals. For more information about the STEPS Initiative please visit:

PLDP Activities

Leadership Elective
  • In 2011, faculty and students recognized that the PLDP concepts of physician leadership and healthcare management should be adopted into the traditional medical school curriculum. A group of fourth-year PLDP students, in collaboration with faculty, developed a healthcare leadership elective course to achieve the goals of:
    • increasing understanding of the U.S. healthcare system,
    • engaging in self-assessment and self-awareness of leadership characteristics,
    • increasing inter-professional communication, and
    • practicing healthcare leadership decision-making.
  • These objectives were achieved through a monthly seminar class offered to medical students in the second semester of their first year of school; a fourth-year student facilitated each session.
  • The course utilized online leadership self-assessment tools, online modules from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and readings from various medical and leadership publications. Group exercises and interactive discussions with local community physician and healthcare management leaders introduced students to leadership principles and increased awareness of the challenges and opportunities that exist in leading U.S. healthcare organizations.
  • This student-led Healthcare Leadership elective remains a key aspect of the Physician Leadership Development Program because it represents another avenue in which PLDP students maintain an active role in both curriculum and community development.
Leadership Conference
  • During fall term 2012, PLDP students organized a Leadership Conference for medical students. All medical students were invited to attend, but a strong emphasis was placed on first- and second-year students.
  • The first annual conference had one keynote speaker (Dr. Arthur Pickoff), and five small group sessions with the opportunity to choose from seven different topics. Topics included:
    • Words of Wisdom without the Sugar
    • Finding Research Projects
    • Quality in Health Care and Unique Career Trajectories
    • How to Be a Clinical Leader
    • Balancing Career and Life
    • Unique Internship and Leadership Opportunities
    • Academic Medicine and Leadership
    • Building Your Leadership Portfolio
  • The conference was attended by 42 students with warm reviews and suggestions for next year’s event.

PLDP studence in conference
Dayton pediatrician Shalini Forbis, M.D., M.P.H., leads a small group session in a discussion about balancing career
advancement and family life.

  • The second annual conference was held on Sept. 28, 2013. The conference featured keynote speaker Dr. Alexander Djuricich of the Indiana University School of Medicine. Conference attendees rotated through two large group sessions and four small group sessions. The two large group sessions were led by Dr. Karen Kirkham and Dr. Gregory Toussaint. Attendees were able to select from the following topics for their four small group sessions:
    • Women in Medicine
    • Leadership in Medicine
    • Remaining Compassionate
    • Dilemmas in Medicine
    • Blended Careers
    • Balancing Life and Career
    • Words of Wisdom (WoW)
    • Finding Research Projects
    • Unique Internships and Leadership Opportunities
    • International Medicine
    • Rural Medicine
    • What Residency Programs Want
    • Finding Your Mentor
    • Social Media
    • Leadership in Medical Education
  • The conference was attended by 42 students with positive reviews from both students and physicians.
Boonshoft for Healthcare Improvement (BHI)
  • PLDP alumni Colleen McCormick, M.D., M.P.H., and Lakshman Swamy, M.D., M.B.A., established a local chapter of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School in 2011. The chapter supports students of all health professions in learning about health care quality and patient safety. BHI encourages medical students to participate in the IHI coursework and student training conferences, and provides the tools to facilitate student-initiated quality improvement projects in the Dayton community. The courses are also accessible free-of-charge to interested students, residents, and faculty physicians who are not members of BHI.