• Overview

    The year-long Family Medicine Leads (FM Leads) Emerging Leader Institute (ELI) focuses on ensuring the future of the family medicine specialty by increasing the number of family medicine leaders and provides training for this important role. We encourage all to apply who meet our definition of an emerging leader and are committed to the development of family medicine leaders who reflect the rich diversity of the specialty and the patients served.

    Family Medicine residents entering their first or second year, and medical students entering their second, third, or fourth year when the program begins are eligible to apply. All applicants must be members of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) to apply.

    As part of the Emerging Leader Institute, 30 selected residents and students will attend the AAFP National Conference (August 1-4, 2024) to learn more about family medicine, explore residency programs, make connections, and learn about leadership opportunities with the Student and Resident Congress. Following the AAFP National Conference, the selected participants will attend the Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute (August 3-4, 2024) in-depth workshops in one of three leadership tracks: Policy & Public Health, Personal & Practice and Philanthropic & Mission-Driven. The weekend concludes with a Project Management session. 

    The participants will receive:

    • A scholarship of $1,000 to help cover costs to attend AAFP National Conference and the Emerging Leader Institute.
    • An AAFP family physician mentor, who will serve as a role model, provide monthly guidance and project support.
    • The opportunity to develop and complete a Leadership Project of your choice related to your leadership track.
    • Additional opportunities to receive:
      • $1,000 for Leadership Project Award that includes a crystal award and travel stipend to return to the next National Conference to showcase their project and participate in Emerging Leader Institute related activities.
      • $3,000 for Best Leadership Project Award to attend a special family medicine opportunity.

    Leadership Tracks

    Those who complete the Emerging Leader Institute, regardless of their track, will be able to:

    • Analyze their personal “toolbox” and identify ways to address their “gaps” in knowledge and skills that are essential for effective leadership.
    • Envision a future “you” and create a roadmap for getting there.
    • Understand the key components of a successful organization, be it a philanthropic organization, healthcare system, or membership organization organized towards policy and professional change, and how their core structures fit with their personal leadership goals and interests.

    Track 1: Policy & Public Health Leadership

    The Policy & Public Health Leadership track is designed to assist our Scholars in developing a skill set that will prepare them for their roles as leaders in the public arena. Family physicians honor the doctor-patient bond when we use our advanced degrees and professional experiences to engage our practices, hospitals, health systems and the community at large in ways that make achieving better health possible.  Leaders outside of medicine want to work with respected physicians who have knowledge of current health care trends, the skills to take on leadership roles, and an ability to effectively communicate the needs of both the local medical community and vulnerable patient populations. As family physicians, we often do our best work when we advocate for our patients though our leadership within public health and public policy - this track aims to begin that leadership development process.

    Those who complete the Policy and Public Health Leadership Track will be able to:

    • Compare and contrast core concepts of public and population health.
    • Understand at least one way family physicians are engaged in public health and population health.
    • Describe social determinants of health and their direct impact on family physicians and the patients they care for.
    • Conduct a legislative visit about a policy important to the specialty of family medicine and to the health of patients.
    • Explain the fundamental characteristics of effective community leadership and how that may differ from advocacy and public health leadership.
    • Identify the leadership skills likely to be most effective in advocating for public policy change.

    Track 2: Personal & Practice Leadership

    Family Physicians should be role models of personal wellness for their patients, co-workers, peers and families. They need to have a high-level understanding of the trends in healthcare affecting family physicians generally and an ability to see (and message to others effectively) how their role in that landscape is evolving over time. How we understand our leadership roles in the context of our one-on-one patient care work and the needs of our community is critical. We will be asked to lead, and we should have a leadership "toolbox" from which we can pull tools for success. There are many distractions in the day-to-day work of a family physician - this track is designed to help our Scholars manage these gracefully and to use them to better their patient care, their communities, and themselves.

    Those who complete the Personal and Practice Leadership Track will be able to:

    • Understand the key trends in practice management and what their role could be in driving them (and influencing them).
    • Understand the difference between leadership at the level of the individual practice and larger arenas, such as an integrated healthcare system.
    • Integrate high-level healthcare thinking into their everyday physician work to enhance patient care, professional success, and personal satisfaction.
    • Incorporate strategies for well-being: mindfulness, resiliency, risk-comfort balance, and creating time and space for innovation.

    Track 3: Philanthropic & Mission-Driven Leadership

    Family Physicians have an amazing potential to have a positive impact in the world beyond the exam room. This track is designed to help our Scholars see, understand and unlock that potential in ways that will help them add value to the communities they serve. Aligning ones personal and professional goals is the key to physician well-being, and creates the ability to encapsulate what brings meaning to your life in the context of the healthcare chaos around us is a healthy strategy for leaders who want to get beyond the "administrivia" that holds us back from self-actualization at work. We can make a bigger impact as family physicians if we have leadership skills that help us better navigate the larger healthcare world around us.

    Those who complete the Philanthropic and Mission-Driven Leadership Track will be able to:

    • Understand the pros and cons of non-profit organizations as a vehicle for change.
    • Demonstrate how to create a personal mission statement that reflects ones own personal beliefs and aspirations.
    • Identify and describe two or three strategies that can be utilized to become a “change agent” in their community.
    • Examine how the social determinants of health, as well as aspects of social justice, can influence their personal and philanthropic goals.

    Project Management

    Those who complete the Project Management Leadership Workshop will be able to:

    • Identify one to three key priorities or potential topics for their individual Emerging Leader Institute leadership project.
    • Develop a project management plan outline for their respective area of emphasis.
    • Understand the process for successful completion of the project related to their respective track of study (Policy & Public Health Leadership; Personal & Practice Leadership; Philanthropic & Mission-Driven Leadership).
    • Understand the Emerging Leader Institute mentoring process.
    • Access resources of project topics relevant to the Emerging Leader Institute for successful project management.

    Program Details

    Program participants, or Scholars, will develop and complete a project related to their track. An assigned mentor will help Scholars navigate the process, with the final deliverable due at the end of March 2025.

    There will be a virtual session approximately two weeks prior to the National Conference and Emerging Leader Institute (ELI) weekend. Additionally, Scholars may be required to complete a small amount of “prework” relating to their track. Often short reading selections or self-assessments, these assignments allow participants to get the most out of their ELI experience. 

    Following the ELI weekend, Scholars will have several milestones with deliverables at various stages of their projects. There will also be monthly virtual project management sessions and/or content releases to help Scholars further develop their leadership skills and refine their projects.

    See an example of the ELI Milestones, Deliverables, & Key Dates for an idea of the time commitment of an ELI Scholar. 

    Application Details

    We encourage all to apply and are committed to the development of future Family Medicine leaders who reflect the rich diversity of the specialty and the patients served.

    The application period opens January 1 and closes at 11:59 pm CST March 1. 

    2024 Scholars

    Track 1: Policy & Public Health Leadership

    Track 2: Personal & Practice Leadership

    Track 3: Philanthropic & Mission-Driven Leadership

    2023 Leadership Project Award Recipients


    Kelvin Alvarez

    Mikayla Ambarian

    Sarah Rowley*         


    Stephen Freeman*

    Molly Hurd

    Emily Leboffe, MD, M.Ed


    Ashlyn Chea*

    Chinye Ijeli

    Anna Schramski

    *Best Leadership Project Award Recipient

    Support the Future Leaders of Family Medicine

    Funding for the Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute is provided by the generosity of donors like you.

    Interested in having an impact? Our volunteer mentors help guide these emerging leaders on their journey.