Health Policy Scholarships Foster Physician Leadership

STS News, Fall 2018 -- Cardiothoracic surgeon Daniel J. Boffa, MD is the recipient of the 2018 STS/ACS Health Policy Scholarship, a joint offering from STS and the American College of Surgeons that enables a member surgeon to attend the intensive Executive Leadership Program in Health Policy and Management at Brandeis University near Boston.

During the weeklong course this past June, Dr. Boffa joined surgeons from a variety of specialties for a week of lectures and small group discussions on health care policy, health care finance, leadership, operations management, and conflict negotiation.

“I learned something from every session. The hospital finance session was the most shockingly high-yield,” said Dr. Boffa, who is Director of Clinical Affairs for Yale Medicine’s thoracic surgery program and a Professor of Thoracic Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. “I came into the topic with very little experience (or interest), but knew it was important. I am now much more comfortable with hospital spreadsheets.”

He also learned about the mechanics of persuasion, particularly in those frustrating situations where there seems to be a preponderance of uncontested data supporting a decision, yet the opposing side persists in supporting movement in the opposite direction.

“What I was missing was that my resistant audience was making critical assumptions and accepting them as facts, making the data seem less convincing,” Dr. Boffa said. “Only when you get your counterparts to recognize the distinction between assumptions and facts can you unlock them from their position.”

“I learned something from every session. The hospital finance session was the most shockingly high-yield. ... I am now much more comfortable with hospital spreadsheets.”

Daniel J. Boffa, MD

As a scholarship recipient, Dr. Boffa will be appointed to serve a 3-year term on the STS/AATS Workforce on Health Policy, Reform, and Advocacy, starting in January 2019.

Applications for the 2019 scholarship will be accepted later this year. Applicants must be members of both STS and ACS and between the ages of 30 and 55. Application materials, which include a curriculum vitae and a one-page essay discussing why the candidate wishes to receive the scholarship, are due by February 1, 2019. The scholarship will help cover the costs of tuition, travel, and accommodations during the course.

The Thoracic Surgery Foundation (TSF) also offers scholarships that partially cover the cost of attending the course. Applications for TSF’s Alley-Sheridan Scholarship will open December 1 and are due by February 15, 2019.

For more information on the STS/ACS scholarship, visit sts.org/healthpolicyscholarship or contact Grahame Rush, Associate Executive Director.

For more information on the TSF scholarship, visit thoracicsurgeryfoundation.org/awards or contact Priscilla Kennedy, TSF Executive Director.