Physician Leadership Training in High Demand Among Tennessee Doctors, Healthcare Organizations

December 4, 2018

The Tennessee Medical Association is reporting record-level statewide demand for its physician leadership training programs as it points to notable shifts in the healthcare landscape and evolving roles and expectations for doctors.

Slots for TMA’s programs are already completely filled for 2019 with a waiting list for 2020. While both programs have stayed at or near capacity in recent years, the growing waiting lists signal growing interest in the market for good physician leaders.

“Every good doctor wants to excel in patient care, but it takes more than that to be a leader in today’s healthcare environment. Physicians need to drive efficient, high-quality healthcare delivery teams with big-picture financial and operational acumen. TMA saw these trends when we started our leadership training programs and is now in a position to support the physicians and physician employers who recognize the value for themselves and their organizations,” said Dr. Matthew L. Mancini, a Knoxville surgeon and TMA President for 2018-2019.

More hospital systems and other healthcare organizations are turning to TMA for physician leadership training as they look to groom employed physicians to fill critical executive roles. A 2017 report from the American Medical Association said that for the first time ever, less than half of physicians in the U.S. owned their own medical practice. The Physicians Advocacy Institute reported earlier this year that the percentage of doctors employed by hospitals has increased steadily during the past few years and continues to rise.

“Doctors don’t really learn about business in medical school or residency training, and even the best clinicians can’t be expected to excel in a leadership role without developing the proper skill sets. TMA’s unique position as a nonprofit advocacy organization allows us to meet this growing market need with physician-focused programs that are superior to and less expensive than healthcare organizations can get anywhere else,” said Dr. Mancini, who graduated from TMA’s leadership training program in 2010. 

TMA graduated 12 doctors from its first Physician Leadership College class in 2007. The association has since expanded the program under the John Ingram Institute for Physician Leadership, named after Dr. John Ingram of Maryville for his vision and role in establishing the leadership college during his term as TMA president. The Ingram Institute offers two courses for young physicians to become leaders in the healthcare team, in their profession and in their communities.

  • The Leadership Immersion is a two-weekend course covering foundational leadership areas like teamwork, collaboration, conflict resolution and media and communications.

  • The Leadership Lab is a more rigorous, multi-month course focusing on leadership in the team-based healthcare delivery setting. Physician participants implement a quality improvement project to help improve clinical care, safety, efficiency and/costs in their own practice environments.

Both courses are open to TMA member physicians and tuition is just $1,000. Similar programs can cost between $3,000 and $5,000 per physician.

TMA’s Ingram Institute is partially funded in part by a grant from The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to empower physicians in strengthening relationships with patients, sustaining their medical practices and navigating the changing healthcare system. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $49 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, universities, hospital systems and medical society foundations.

Learn more about TMA’s leadership training opportunities at