This Section:

Leadership Institute


Group photo of 2019 SLDP cohort
2019-2020 Senior Leadership Development Program Cohort. View all SLDP Cohorts and Mentors.

About SLDP

AACOM's Senior Leadership Development Program (SLDP) is tailored to develop the skills required for leaders in colleges of osteopathic medicine (COM). Unlike general leadership programs, the SLDP curriculum is based on extensive feedback from nearly 250 COM chairs, associate deans, and directors as well as 30 COM deans. The program is revised annually based on program evaluations and input from senior COM leaders.

The structure of SLDP provides a unique opportunity for one-on-one and group engagement with experienced COM deans who serve as mentors. Small and highly interactive, the SLDP fosters learning and networking with colleagues from institutions across the country. The SLDP concludes with a capstone project that requires teams to research a critical issue facing COMs. The project outcome is a manuscript and publication, pending peer review, from which all osteopathic medical education can benefit.   


“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

Why SLDP? An Important New Tool for COM Leadership

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

“This program has helped me to take my leadership skills to another level and to refine my leadership style.”     
–Michael J. Sampson, DO, FAOASM

  • Effectively use decision making, priority-setting, and conflict resolution skills
  • Understand and build on your personal strengths as a leader
  • Expand administrative competencies
  • Improve time management and manage work-life balance
  • Mentor emerging osteopathic leaders
  • Enhance academic law understanding and effectively interact with legal counsel
  • Be an OME advocate with local and national policymakers
SLDP breakout sessions
  • Prepare for and meet COCA expectations
  • Use data-driven decision making to create a campus culture that inspires future physicians to be passionate about helping patients and communities
  • Implement your personal career plan
  • Strengthen professional relationships and network with expanded peer group
  • Communicate effectively with other senior administrators, faculty, and students
  • Identify and address faculty and staff management and performance issues

Who Is Eligible to Apply?


Successful applicants will show evidence of the following:

  • Letter of support from Dean
  • 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
Accepted applicants must attend all phases of the program and participate in peer conference calls.

“This program allowed me to improve on my current leadership skills, meet colleagues that had [the] same goals and objectives in wanting to improve and enhance medical education. The advisors/mentors were excellent in helping with my growth as a leader. This program was so worth it.”     
–John T. Pham, DO

How It Works

The SLDP will take place over a one-year period consisting of five phases and will involve 5 days of on-site participation, as well as a number of conference calls over the course of the program.

Phase 1

Personal and Interpersonal Competencies

  • Personality preferences
  • Leadership self assessments
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Personal and professional goals

Phase 2

Leadership and Organizational Dynamics

  • Framework for academic leadership
  • Strategic planning
  • Four frames for understanding
  • Case studies

Phase 3

Administrative Issues in Leadership

  • Legal issues
  • Case studies
  • Basic tenets of fundraising
  • Media coverage

Phase 4

Leading Oneself - Beyond the SLDP

  • Managing stress
  • Life balance
  • Time management
  • Succession planning

Phase 5

Review and Present Capstone Project

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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.

General Timeframe

timeline showing sldp key dates

Fees & Institutional Commitment

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AACOM is committed to supporting the SLDP.  Tuition for the program is as follows:
  • $9,500 for individuals from a member COM. If more than one individual per COM applies, a 20% discount will be granted to additional individuals from the same COM.
Tuition covers resource books and other materials, speakers and moderators, and certain other ancillary costs. COMS are responsible for the tuition, travel and lodging costs per individual.

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 (UNE COM), 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 upon successfully completing the program.

How to Apply

If you meet eligibility requirements and understand the financial commitments of the program please complete the application once it is made available.

See a preview of the application prior to beginning the online application. You will need:
  • Letter of support
  • Current CV
  • Completed online application
Need help asking your Dean for support to apply?  Download a sample justification letter.


Questions? Contact Lynn Bragan, PMP

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

“A very needed and useful initiative.”     
–George Mychaskiw II, DO