Applications and nominations announcement coming in late 2018.

About SLDP

AACOM’s Senior Leadership Development Program (SLDP) is for individuals in senior leadership positions at U.S. colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs). The program assists new and experienced deans, current, interim, or designated deans, and others identified by their schools as potential future deans to develop and enhance critical leadership and management competencies. SLDP’s objective is to ensure that Fellows have a positive impact on their institutions, and that COMs have the leadership necessary to meet the challenges and identify the opportunities presented by a dynamic health care environment.

SLDP was conceived and developed together with AACOM leadership in close consultation with the Academy for Academic Leadership (AAL). AAL is a consulting and professional development organization serving the needs of health professions education and is recognized for its work with some of AACOM’s counterpart organizations in similar leadership development programs.


Upon completion of AACOM’s Senior Leadership Development Program, fellows will be well positioned to meet today’s OME challenges including the ability to: 

  • Effectively use decision making, priority-setting, and conflict resolution skills
  • Expand administrative competencies
  • Manage work-life balance
  • Identify and address faculty and staff management and performance issues
  • Enhance academic law understanding and effectively interact with legal counsel
  • Be an OME advocate with local and national policymakers
  • Strengthen professional relationships
  • Implement a personal career plan

How It Works

The SLDP will take place over a one-year period consisting of five phases and will involve 4.5 days of on-site participation, as well as a number of conference calls over the course of the program.

Phase I: Personal and Interpersonal Competencies 

During Phase I, Fellows will explore how personality preferences influence leadership and performance. They will review self-assessments taken in preparation for the program and discuss behaviors associated with effective leadership. Other topics include identifying ways to improve working relationships, giving and receiving peer feedback about leadership challenges at Fellows’ home institutions, and developing an action plan for improving leadership practices. Fellows will develop personal and professional goals for the SLDP year.

Phase II: The Leader and Organizational Dynamics

Phase II focuses on the framework for academic leadership and the strategic planning process. Fellows will identify four distinct frames for understanding the COM as an organization and participate in a case study, applying the reframing model to interprofessional education and collaborative practice. They will identify steps for successful strategic planning, as well as their individual styles for managing conflicts and other difficult situations.   

Phase III: Administrative Issues in Leadership

Phase III addresses legal issues in the academic environment. Topics will include legal issues faced by academic administrators and, through cases studies, will explore strategies to address them. Phase III will also explore the basic tenets of higher education fundraising and identify the role of the dean in that process. This phase will also include ways to fine-tune core messages about osteopathic medical education and provide tips and tools for maximizing positive media coverage. 

Phase IV: Leading Oneself – Beyond the SLDP

Phase IV addresses managing stress, life balance, and time management. Topics will include defining the challenges of work-life balance and planning for life after leaving a leadership position. Fellows will develop strategies for succession planning that positively affect both their individual COMs and the future of osteopathic medicine.

Phase V: Wrap-Up and Review 

Phase V is the culmination of this one-year program and includes joint programming that engages graduating Fellows with the incoming SLDP class. This joint session will provide an opportunity for discussion about how graduating SLDP leaders have applied program content to daily challenges at their home institutions.


Capstone Project

AACOM's SLDP is designed, not only to benefit the fellow and his or her institution, but also all osteopathic medical education. As a part of the yearlong SLDP experience, each fellow will identify a project at his or her institution that, when implemented, will have a significant impact in one or more of the following areas:

  • Interprofessional education and collaborative practice
  • Faculty recruitment, development, and retention
  • Community outreach
  • Research
  • Education
  • Mentoring
  • Information technology
  • Relations within the academic health center or with the parent institution
  • Relations with the practicing community

SLDP Fellows will identify their project shortly after Phase I, with the Capstone Project summary due prior to Phase V.

Because of major changes taking place around interprofessional education and collaborative practice, fellows are strongly encouraged to consider projects associated with this area.

Fees & Institutional Commitment

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AACOM is committed to supporting the SLDP by subsidizing 50 percent of the actual tuition cost of $4,975 for fellows from AACOM-member institutions. Tuition for fellows from non-member institutions will not be subsidized. 

Tuition covers resource books and other materials, speakers and moderators, and certain other ancillary costs. It does not cover travel and other expenses which will be paid by the fellow and/or his or her institution.

The fellow’s institution agrees to pay his or her full salary and benefits during the time the fellow participates in the SLDP.

CME Credit

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CME credit will be made available through the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM), which is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and by the Maine Medical Association’s Committee on Continuing Medical Education and Accreditation (CCMEA), to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Contact hours may be submitted by non-physician, non-PA health professionals for continuing education credits.

In recognition of their achievement, SLDP Fellows will receive a signed certificate of completion from AACOM upson successfully completing the program.

Application & Nomination Process

Participation in the SLDP is based on a competitive application process. Preference is given to deans who are in their first deanship and who have served three years or less as a dean, or to named deans who are about to assume a deanship. 

Positions in the SLDP are also available for other senior leaders who aspire to become a dean during their career.  Applicants must be nominated by their dean. Non-AACOM members may self-nominate. 

Successful applicants will show evidence of the following:

  • Outstanding success in past or current positions
  • A clear track record of increasing administrative responsibilities
  • Experience with responsibilities such as chairing committees, advising student groups, or mentoring faculty and students
  • Participation in local, regional, or national professional development workshops
  • A record of scholarly contributions through teaching or research
  • Nominator’s stated commitment and strategies for supporting the nominee during the SLDP program year

How To Apply

If you are interested in participating in AACOM’s SLDP program, or if there is a faculty member at your institution who you believe has the potential to assume leadership at the dean level, please access the appropriate links below:

What Our Graduates Have Said About SLDP

"Excellent program for developing future leadership within the profession of osteopathic medicine." Shane Speights, DO

"One of the biggest assets of this program is networking and developing a deeper understanding of colleges of osteopathic medicine across the nation." Nicole Wadsworth, DO

"SLDP was a capstone experience that acclimated me to my new role as "the dean"." Peter A. Bell, DO, MBA

Recent Graduates

Peter A. Bell, DO, MBA, LUCOM

Jane E. Carreiro, DO, UNECOM

Gregory M. Christiansen, DO, MEd

William Joshua Cox, DO, KCU-COM Joplin

John J. Dougherty, DO, TUNCOM

Robert Hasty, DO, ICOM

Brian A. Kessler, DO, LMU-DCOM

Timothy J. Kowalski, DO, VCOM-CC

Richard J. LaBaere II, DO, MPH, ATSU-KCOM

Jeffrey W. Morgan, DO, MA, ATSU-SOMA

George Mychaskiw II, DO, BCOM

Lisa R. Nash, DO, MS-HPEd, UNTHSC

Dana C. Shaffer, DO, UP-KYCOM

Shane R. Speights, DO, GA-PCOM

Nicole Wadsworth, DO,  NYITCOM