Interested in applying for LEADS?

The call for applications for the 2022-2023 LEADS cohort is now CLOSED.

More information on the application period for the 2023-2024 cohort will be shared in spring 2022.

Meet the current LEADS fellows!

Learn more about the current LEADS cohort and their LEADS projects.

ADFM LEADS: Leadership Education for Academic Development and Success

(the 2020-2021 LEADS Fellows at the ADFM 2020 Annual Conference)


A decade ago, ADFM recognized the need for a robust and diverse leadership pipeline to meet the growing needs of academic departments of family medicine for both senior leaders and department chairs. Department-level senior leadership positions are an important part of the Chair leadership pipeline, and effective succession planning for chairs. The ADFM LEADS fellowship is a 1-year program designed for mid- to late-career family medicine leaders interested in pathways to leadership in academic or other health systems, including department chair, or want to further explore if these roles would be a good career fit. Since 2009, 78 fellows have completed or are currently participating in the ADFM fellowship. Almost half of these fellows have assumed interim or permanent chair positions, others have gone on to assume department-level senior leadership roles in academic family medicine.


The ADFM LEADS Fellowship Program provides interactive training, tools, and experiential learning for those aspiring to senior leadership positions in academic or other health systems. The program has an emphasis on strategic career planning and features a cohort-responsive curriculum structured around the Leadership Competencies for Family Medicine Department Chairs, which we have found fit for other leadership roles as well. 

In the LEADS program, you’ll:

  • Identify areas for professional development from the leadership competencies and complete a project designed to improve skills in some of these areas;
  • Develop an ongoing connection with advising from an experienced Department Chair or senior leader on your project and career goals;
  • Participate in ADFM’s member offerings, including attendance at the ADFM Annual Conference and access to the ADFM Chair listserve;
  • Access a number of trainings and resources specifically designed for LEADS participants.


  • Clear connection to family medicine in an academic medical center or an academic affiliated health system. 
  • At least 3 years of leadership experience in a position where you have had some responsibility managing personnel and budget and strategic direction

Application Elements

Program Elements and Schedule

The ADFM LEADS Fellowship is a year-long program (starting and ending in February at the ADFM Annual Conference). The program is structured around the ADFM leadership competencies, highlights strategic career planning, and is designed to be cohort-responsive though some content is included annually.  Some examples of specific topics that may be covered include:

  • Leadership pathways for self and mentees (i.e. knowledge of the different career options available, see CAFM leadership materials)
  • Diversity and inclusion; anti-racism; explicitly acknowledge minority tax, sponsorship, allyship
  • Self-promotion
  • Survival skills vs day-to-day knowledge
  • Systems thinking
  • Change agency and management
  • Teaming and leadership; leadership styles
  • Writing, communication, and negotiation skills
  • Advocacy skills (legislative and local/institutional)
  • Giving and receiving feedback with a formal peer evaluation from other fellows

The program includes the following activities:



October '21 through      January '22 




After acceptance - 

  • Self-assessment of incoming strengths and areas for professional development in Leadership Competencies for Family Medicine Department Chairs
  • Join ADFM Chairs’ listserv
  • Assignment of a fellowship advisor

February ‘22






ADFM Annual Conference, February 23-26

Participate in the full meeting as well as some additional programming:

  • ADFM LEADS Fellowship Workshop
  • ADFM Leadership Preconference
  • Leadership & Management Dilemmas workshop


February of ‘22        through                    February of ‘23






Arrange ongoing meetings with fellowship advisor by phone and email, in person when possible

  • Weekly LEADS hour: Wednesdays 1-2pm Eastern/12-1pm Central. Depending on week, this time includes:
    • LEADS Program webinars (usually 3-4/yr; topics determined by Fellows)
    • Cohort check-in time
    • Project work time
    • Journal club

Complete Fellowship project focused on increasing skills in an area for leadership development identified from the Leadership Competencies self-assessment.

Summer '22


TBD; additional LEADS in-person workshop

November '22




AAMC Annual Meeting (see call for applications for specific dates) 

  •  Attend the AAMC Annual Meeting
    • Note that this is NOT covered by the program cost though attendance is strongly encouraged.
  • Attend ADFM LEADS Fellowship Workshop (in conjunction with AAMC meeting, final date TBD)

February ‘23







Weekly meetings wrap up

ADFM Annual Conference, February 21-25

Participate in the full meeting as well as some additional programming:

  • ADFM LEADS Fellowship Workshop
  • ADFM Leadership Preconference
  • Leadership & Management Dilemmas workshop

Present LEADS Fellowship Project as an “ignite” talk (timing during conference TBD  by year)

After February ‘23




  • Outgoing self-assessment of Leadership Competencies
  • Continue in chairs’ listserve for one additional year (until February after LEADS year)
  • Access LEADS Program webinars and resources as desired
  • Ongoing notification of open Chair positions (optional)
  • Alumni networking and events

Program Cost and Commitments

The cost of participation in the ADFM LEADS Fellowship in 2022 is $9,500. This fee covers all materials and expenses for LEADS Program sessions. It also covers the registration fees for the two ADFM Annual Conferences attended by LEADS Fellows. This does not include additional travel, lodging and some meal fees. 

Travel expenses and costs associated with AAMC Annual Meeting attendance are the responsibility of the fellow and/or their supporting department.




Meet the 2020-2021 LEADS Alumni!