Foundation Priority: Empowering Physicians


The CMAF’s goal is to support the development of physician leaders through a unique program that combines wellness with leadership.


Grantee Partner – Physicians Leadership Academy

The Physicians Leadership Academy (PLA) was established in 2013 by the Columbus Medical Association to facilitate exceptional physician leaders in the central Ohio community. It is a 10-month intensive program that combines wellness with leadership.

The PLA reconnects practicing physicians with their original purpose for becoming physicians. Through the PLA curriculum, physicians become re-energized around their purpose and the PLA shows them a practice that helps them stay connected with that higher purpose. This re-connecting to purpose is the basis for authentic leadership which is what the PLA cultivates.

The PLA achieves its goals by focusing on three primary areas:

Emotional Intelligence – Increase the participant’s emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, adaptability, positive outlook, and achievement orientation.

Cognitive Capacity – Increase the participant’s knowledge of healthcare systems, planning legal issues, public policy and their ability to do “systems” thinking and recognize patterns.

Social Intelligence – Increase the participant’s ability to empathize, show compassion, listen to understand, influence and show inspirational leadership.

The PLA was conceived of in 2013 when the Columbus Medical Association (CMA) CEO, Philip H. Cass, Ph.D. convened a group of interested CMA members to discuss the possibility of forming a physician-centric leadership academy under the auspices of the CMA. The assembled group was concerned that there was not sufficient physician voices in the community and that physicians were patients’ greatest advocates. The group also recognized that physician well-being was a concern that needed to be addressed. They believed that these two needs were related to each other and could be addressed in a highly innovative leadership program. The Columbus Medical Association Foundation (CMAF) funded a year of program development and the PLA was formed as a program under the CMAF. The PLA became fully incorporated in 2017 as a 501c3.

At the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, nearly 100 physicians will have graduated from this program.


To support this priority and PLA’s effort to help physicians become more effective leaders and thrive in the healthcare system and the community, click here.