Current leadership training in dermatology residency programs: a survey

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Apr;66(4):622-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.10.009. Epub 2012 Jan 30.


Background: Residents and physicians frequently find themselves in leadership roles. Current residency curricula focus on the development of clinical knowledge and technical skills. A previous survey of Penn State Dermatology graduates demonstrated the perceived need and benefit of a formalized leadership curriculum in this selected group.

Objectives: We sought to identify and measure the perceived need and benefit of formalized leadership training and investigate opinions regarding leadership theory from the perspective of dermatology residency program directors and chief residents nationally.

Methods: A survey containing 26 questions related to leadership theory and training were mailed to all US dermatology residency programs.

Results: In all, 91% of program directors and chief residents agreed that leadership skills could be taught through observation and training. A total of 78% of respondents agreed that leadership training is important during dermatology residency training. In all, 66% agreed that a formalized leadership curriculum would help residents become better resident supervisors and physicians. Only 13% reported having a formalized leadership curriculum. Participants most frequently reported learning leadership through observation and modeled behavior. A total of 15% of chief residents believed their faculty did not effectively model leadership, whereas only 2% of the program directors believed the same (P = .01).

Limitations: In all, 62% (68/109) of programs surveyed returned at least one response from the program director or chief resident. A total of 39% (42/109) had responses from both the program director and the chief resident. Because of the voluntary nature of the survey, response bias could not be excluded.

Conclusion: Most program directors and chief residents believe leadership skills can be cultivated through observation and training. Leadership curriculum is not part of most residency programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dermatology / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Leadership*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires