International Leadership Academy

Cardiovascular professionals are constantly educating themselves on the latest clinical news and techniques to ensure their personal practice is as effective as possible. However, professional development in non-clinical areas does not always receive the same level of attention.

In December 2014, the ACC entered an innovative partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to address the need for physician-centered training in non-clinical areas, specifically training in leadership techniques, thus marking the creation of the International Leadership Academy. Falling in line with many of ACC’s core competencies, the International Leadership Academy empowers attendees by focusing on faculty development, leadership, manuscript writing and other skills often overlooked for more clinical training.

In late 2016, leaders in health care from across the globe traveled to ACC’s Heart House headquarters in Washington, DC, to attend the 3rd Annual International Leadership Academy. The academy, chaired by ACC Past Presidents William A. Zoghbi, MD, MACC, and Anthony N. DeMaria, MD, MACC, provides training for 35 to 40 physicians each year. Attendees are standout individuals identified by ACC’s International Chapters as emerging leaders in their communities through a nomination and selection process.

The academy’s attendees, hailing from more than 25 countries, give presentations mapping specific health care and leadership challenges in their respecticve countries, providing special insight into regional obstacles.

While strengthening leadership skills is a primary objective of this program, the academy also leverages having international leaders in the same room as an opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices. The academy’s attendees, hailing from more than 25 countries, give presentations mapping specific health care and leadership challenges in their respective countries, providing special insight into regional obstacles. This serves as a platform for emerging leaders in the cardiovascular community to gain a deeper understanding of the varied challenges facing the College’s ever-growing international community. By connecting these emerging leaders, the academy facilitates the building of professional relationships and creates new opportunities for collaboration that defy geographical distance.

“In the era of the internet, advances in medical technology and health care policy are rapidly dispersed throughout the world,” says DeMaria. “There exists a proportionate need for international medical leadership, training that is often neglected both in the U.S. and abroad. The International Leadership Academy fills this need. Future leaders of the international health community learn from those with experience, from each other, and in fact, transmit a great deal of knowledge to the instructors.”

Incorporating attendee feedback and providing resources after the event has been a critical component of the academy’s continued success. Each year, following the conclusion of the event, attendees receive a monthly newsletter centered around leadership techniques. Additionally, attendees are invited to a follow-up discussion at ACC’s Annual Scientific Session.

Attendees have applauded the academy’s scientific approach to strengthening leadership training and the thought-provoking discussion lead by Zoghbi, DeMaria and other faculty members. ACC faculty and leadership look forward to continuing to develop this program, expanding on its success connecting leaders for the betterment of health systems, delivery and patients.

“Year after year, I am so impressed with the attendees. They come from all over the globe, motivated and eager to engage, share and learn,” adds Zoghbi. “With all the differences in their backgrounds, they share many opportunities and challenges. I look forward to seeing them grow into future health care leaders in various regions of the world.”


Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Delivery of Health Care, Follow-Up Studies, Faculty, Learning, Motivation

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