New Health Leadership Academy white paper explores how to prepare emerging health leaders for the future

29 April 2019 | Burlington, Ontario
Contributed by Mary Taws

While no one can predict the future of health care, what we do know is that strong leadership will be needed. Modern healthcare systems continuously evolve under shifting and interacting forces, often in difficult-to-predict ways.

Economic, technological, social, political, and environmental factors will continue to shape the health landscape, requiring future leaders to hone a multitude of skills.

But, how do we understand what the healthcare system of the future will look like? Moreover, how do we prepare our future healthcare leaders to manage it?

Over a year ago, the Michael G. DeGroote Health Leadership Academy (HLA) set out to explore these very questions.

In partnership with the McMaster Health Forum, the HLA executed a collaborative multi-phase study to identify the underlying forces driving the health system of the future. After an extensive literature review and stakeholder dialogue with international health system experts, today marks the launch of a white paper detailing the Academy’s findings.

This paper, entitled Preparing for the Alternative Futures of Health, articulates the future skills, knowledge and experiences required of health system leaders. It also highlights the institutional and cultural conditions required to attract, select, develop and support emerging leaders to meet the challenges ahead.

Importantly, the research process integrated an element of foresight to examine the potential alternative scenarios that leaders could face. After all, the current pace of change means that we need to equip healthcare professionals with future-oriented ways of thinking and doing.

“There are different potential paths the health system could take,” says HLA Co-Director Michael Hartmann. “Looking forward to understand how drivers of change could create different versions of the health system in the future will help us to make decisions now.”

Tonight, the Academy is pleased to welcome an esteemed panel to discuss elements of the white paper. This public-facing discussion will be moderated by Chair of the HLA research committee Rick Hackett and will feature André Picard (The Globe and Mail); Dr. Teresa Chan (McMaster University); Shannon MacDonald (Accenture); and Greg McQueen (Co-Director, HLA).

Moving forward, the HLA will advance the conversation by engaging a range of stakeholders on next steps and refining its own Emerging Health Leaders Program based on the white report findings.


Project contributors

Rick Hackett
Chair, HLA Research Committee
Canada Research Chair, McMaster University

John N. Lavis
Director, McMaster Health Forum

Lynda van Dreumel & Jenn Green 
HLA White Paper Authors and PhD candidates, McMaster University

Michael Hartmann & Greg McQueen
Co-Directors, HLA

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