Last month on February 8-10, 2018, thirty-seven physicians from all parts of Northern Ontario came together for the Northern Lights 2018 Leadership Forum. The Forum was organized as a leadership educational innovation to address the isolation many physician leaders face due to the geographical challenges of living and practicing in Northern Ontario. Physician participants completed the Physician Leadership Institute course “Engaging Others” which draws on current research and best practices that contribute to physician and employee engagement, including engaging people though their heads and their hearts. Effective physician leaders build trust, recognition and commitment to a vision based on a knowledge of individual human intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors. Physician leaders are presently challenged by an increasing number of exhausted and disillusioned physician colleagues, and burnout amongst many health care team members. Within healthcare organizations, engagement is the antithesis of burnout. Forum guided discussions enabled the physician leaders to explore with guests from the OHA, the OMA and Health Quality Ontario strategies for mutual support which are crucial to healthcare transformation in Northern Ontario. In addition, guests from OMA Physician Health Program presented organizational strategies to promote physician wellness. These strategies reflect the unique challenges associated with the delivery of health care services in Northern Ontario.
Northern Lights 2018 was the result of collaborations involving NOSM, the OMA and the AMS Phoenix Fellowship Program through their shared commitment to physician leadership development.
This Forum was an outstanding success on many levels as it provided opportunities for physician leaders at different phases of their leadership journeys to learn from each other, including residents, new graduates, early career physicians and experienced physician leaders, and it started the development of a supportive community of Northern Ontario physician leaders. Congratulations, well done and thank you to NOSM Assistant Dean CEPD, Dr James Goertzen on this exciting initiative.