Identification of the drivers of change that hasten improvement of chronic illness care in resident practices serves as an effective strategy for transformative change. The Academic Chronic Care Collaborative (ACCC) is an ongoing network of 48 teams from 22 teaching hospitals and systems that have committed to implementation of the evidence-based Chronic Care Model in their residency practices. The teams track the results of their efforts by monthly reports of both clinical and educational outcomes. The authors' experience with these self-selected teams shows that the two most effective drivers of change have been organization-wide leadership -- from the CEO to the clinical manager -- and the academic culture, e.g., competitiveness, the aspiration for excellence, focus on the research mission, comfort with data, and commitment to the education mission. These ACCC teams and their sponsoring health systems have successfully harnessed these drivers for the implementation of evidence-based chronic illness care in resident practices.