The interconnected leader sees [theirself] as the generator of impulses into an interconnected system to realize the purpose of the organization
—Dalai Lama & Laurens van den Muyzenberg, The Leader’s Way
Reflecting on global events and the continuing work of SGIM members to address our ongoing health disparities and challenges, I see the creativity and impact of our long-established and emerging leaders shine through. Leaders can serve as a powerful guiding force, yet do not act in isolation from the people and systems that they serve—a lesson that comes sharply into focus as this issue of Forum publishes against the backdrop of an upcoming U.S. presidential election.
This issue examines how SGIM members are leading on evergreen issues in general internal medicine. Leadership skills are arguably core competencies of our professional training as physicians. They begin from the core values of our profession, despite differences in the timing and availability of formal curricula on leadership development. Jean Kutner, our president, shares how leadership lessons can come from non-work experiences. Julie Oyler, BRL chair, describes how SGIM region presidents are adapting local events to continue serving members, including offering vital networking and mentoring opportunities.
Leading can be advocating for a single patient and leading their care management and decision-making—at any career stage. Cunningham, et al, share the underrecognized importance of advanced care planning among young adults with cancer in their morning report.
Leading can be starting or engaging in large-scale advocacy, of which there are many powerful and innovative movements with grassroots origins—to dismantle racism in medicine and science, promote humanism in clinical medicine, create environments free of gender-based discrimination and harassment, naming only a few mutually inclusive movements. Van Doren, a third-year resident, calls our medical communities to action towards building anti-racist medical institutions, while Hasnain, et al, outline their consortium’s 10-step pathway for dismantling racism in academic medicine.
Leading in medicine can be crafting educational innovations at a local, regional, or national scale. Kane, et al, offer local learning on a residency continuity clinic for obesity medicine and LeFrancois, et al, from the MOC Subcommittee of SGIM’s Education Committee offer updates on ABIM maintenance of certification options.
Importantly, leading means having a set of skills and traits that embody a high standard of ethics and morality, role modeling and engendering compassion, and a sense of service and responsibility for those who follow, and paving a clearly visioned pathway towards our shared future. In these ways, physicians are trained to lead, in ways big and small, in the infinite interconnected facets of society and medicine. In these ways, we clearly offer our own powerful guiding forces towards a better shared future for all.