PLDP Alumni

Class of 2018-19 Physician Leadership Development Program

PLDP Alumni

The Physician Leadership Development Program will help Doctors Nova Scotia members become visionary, collaborative, effective leaders in health care.

Twenty-two newly minted physician leaders gathered with a number of health-care stakeholders at White Point Resort in Liverpool, N.S., in mid-April 2019 to celebrate the end of another Physician Leadership Development Program (PLDP).

The comprehensive six-month course was designed specifically for Nova Scotia physicians by Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) in partnership with Joule, a Canadian Medical Association company, and in consultation with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the IWK and Dalhousie Medical School. The program helps physicians gain valuable expertise they can apply on their journey toward becoming effective leaders in health care.

“We know that physician engagement is key to successful health-system change,” said Dr. Tim Holland, President of DNS. “This program gives physicians the skills they need to take a place at the table and advocate for lasting change. I’m excited to see what they accomplish.”

Action learning projects

In addition to developing their leadership skills, the participants also developed integrative systems thinking skills. They applied this holistic approach to problem-solving as they worked together to develop solutions to four real-life issues affecting the health-care system.

The project themes were inpatient care, establishing an academic health sciences network in Nova Scotia, supporting physicians in providing timely and compassionate medical assistance in dying, and increasing the engagement of community family medicine preceptors for undergraduate medical education in Nova Scotia.

Inpatient care


  1. What are the current models of medical inpatient care in NS?
  2. What are the physician-related barriers to ensuring that a patient requiring inpatient medicine care has a most responsible physician (MRP)?
  3. What other factors and patterns of care affect delivery of medical inpatient care across NS?

Recommendations for the NSHA:

  • Using connected local physician leaders from similar sites, MRP guidelines could be developed to support a consistent approach to care and transfer of patients between sites.
  • Continue to work toward providing fair, comparable and transparent funding for family physicians providing inpatient care outside of the hospitalist agreement.
  • Consider creating ongoing connection between like facilities (rural with rural, community with community, regional with regional) to identify positive variances and opportunities to share best practices.

Subject matter experts: 
Dr. Vicky Allen
Dr. Todd Howlett
Dr. Tania Sullivan
Dr. Laura Whyte

Project poster

Establishing an Academic Health Sciences Network

This project examines the feasibility of creating an Academic Health Sciences Network (AHSN) across Nova Scotia, with the goal of enhancing collaboration between government, the health authorities, academic institutions and other key partners. 

Recommendations for Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine:

  1. An opportunity exists to improve the health of all Nova Scotians by establishing an AHSN.
  2. Key stakeholders are encouraged to come together to define shared vision and mission and determine priority areas for project development.
  3. Key stakeholders are advised to visit and learn from established Canadian AHSNs.
  4. Provincial leadership in each of the areas of health research, education and clinical care, as well as representatives from government, industry and the community should unite to develop and implement an AHSN.

Subject matter experts: 
Dr. David Lovas
Dr. Anne Frances D’Intino
Dr. Cheryl Pugh
Dr. Greg Bailly
Dr. Tim Mailman
Dr. Anthony Otley

Project poster

Medical Assistance in Dying

The greatest barrier to medical assistance in dying (MAID) has been identified as the lack of a sustainable, comprehensive model of care that would support current and potential MAID assessors and providers in providing timely and compassionate MAID services.

Recommendations for Doctors Nova Scotia:
The MAID group developed a report that outlines a recommended leadership and governance structure, clinical care process, educational requirements and a surveillance and accountability process for the MAID service. 

Subject matter experts: 
Dr. Janice Chisholm
Dr. Leisha Hawker
Dr. Blaine Kent
Dr. David Martell
Dr. Ashley Miller
Dr. Anna Neumann

Project poster

Access to family physicians 

Can we increase engagement of community family medicine preceptors for undergraduate medical education in Nova Scotia?

Recommendations/next steps for the IWK Health Centre:

  1. Create a robust infrastructure to sustainably identify, recruit, develop and support community family physicians as teaching faculty.
  2. Build a distributed network of community champions to engage and mentor their colleagues in making a commitment to practice-based teaching.
  3. Create a program of remuneration and award recognition for community family medicine preceptors related to undergraduate medical education.
  4. Ensure teaching competence in family medicine graduates.

Subject matter experts: 
Dr. Maria Alexiadis
Dr. Kathy Gallagher
Dr. Katrina Hurley
Dr. Tammy Keough-Ryan
Dr. Cindy Marshall
Dr. Suzanne Ramsey

Project poster


Katie Mallam
Director, policy and physician wellness initiatives
1-800-563-3427 ext. 4919