A small, rural hospital on the brink of closing takes a big chance on an unorthodox approach – they offer four-day work weeks, limited on-call commitment and time off for international service work.  

The hospital hired not one, but two physicians excited to find an organization and community that reflected their own passion and beliefs. The physicians and their families moved into the community. Care stabilized. Medical staff was built around those two physicians and the hospital recently opened a new facility to better meet the needs of its community.

Ben Anderson, the CEO behind this creative solution shared: “Many physicians want to practice in rural and underserved places, but the barrier is often leadership that doesn’t get it—doesn’t understand what motivates their physicians. CEOs have an opportunity to establish mutual trust that would transform the traditional hospital/physician relationship.”

Anderson’s experience underscores the fact that physician/hospital relationships have never been more important. Over the past year, the AHA has been re-examining how to best involve physicians in our work ensuring that the clinical voice is a stronger part of AHA’s strategy and building on existing collaboration with the physician community established through AHA’s Physician Leadership Forum. 
With the launch of the AHA Physician Alliance, we bring together physicians and their hospitals and health systems in transforming care and advancing health in America. 

“When physician and administrative leadership unite, powerful change is possible,” said Melinda Estes, M.D., AHA board member, president and CEO at Saint Luke’s Health System and chair of the AHA taskforce charged with leading this work.

The Alliance is a multi-year effort to provide new resources, services and experiences on a range of issues including resilience, leadership, management, population and community health, team-based interprofessional care, developed specifically for physicians within AHA-member organizations.
This work is framed by three fundamental values that foster shared
and forge a common language among all health care leaders: Lead Well. Be Well. Care Well.

Lead Well focuses on improving the health of the enterprise and developing the collaborative teams to move organizations forward. The Alliance provides a Physician Leader 360 assessment, on-demand resources, a community of peers, as well as a cutting edge interprofessional leadership academy. 

Be Well is about improving the health of clinicians. The Alliance offers immersion experiences to address resilience, a growing in-depth knowledge hub with research, insights, assessment tools and interviews with leaders addressing burnout in their organizations.

Care Well prioritizes better health for patients and communities. The Alliance connects quality improvement and population health work across the AHA, giving Alliance members access to a high-value care learning collaborative, participation in the new AHA Value Initiative and opportunities for the physician voice to help shape AHA policy development through the Committee on Clinical Leadership. Through interprofessional learning, the Alliance supports collaboration across clinical and administrative disciplines to forge strong leadership teams.

Through unique immersion experiences, virtual expeditions and webinars, Questions with Clinician Leaders podcasts, issue briefs, guides and toolkits, and educational tracks at AHA flagship meetings, the AHA Physician Alliance supports physician leaders in improving the care of their communities. Furthermore, it helps clinical and administrative leadership collaborate effectively for better health of communities. As part of the Alliance community, we hope you will share your organization’s story to develop strong leadership foundations, address resilience and advance health in America. 

Learn more at www.aha.org/physicians.

Jay Bhatt is the AHA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer and the President of AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust. 

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