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Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® About ELAM

Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program participants

Despite the greater numbers of women matriculating at our nation's medical, public health, dental and pharmacy schools, women are still significantly underrepresented within the topmost administrative ranks of academic health centers (AHCs). Placing more women in positions of senior leadership at AHCs will provide important new perspectives for decision-making and help speed the curricular, organizational and policy changes needed to ensure a more effective, representative and responsive health care system.

The Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM) program, established in 1995, is a prestigious national leadership fellowship for women which aims to increase and sustain the number and impact of women in leadership positions in the health sciences. Now in its 30th year, the program has more than 1,500 alumnae (ELUMs) in high-level leadership positions (provosts, deans, chief officers, chairs, etc.) at 300 health institutions around the country. The ELAM program is an intensive one-year fellowship of leadership training with extensive coaching, networking and mentoring opportunities.

Program Tracks

The ELAM program contains two tracks: ELAM and ELH.  

ELAM Track

The traditional Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) track is dedicated to preparing women for senior leadership roles in schools of medicine, public health, dentistry and pharmacy. The traditional ELAM track focus is education and research in academic health centers.

ELH Track

The Executive Leadership in Health Care (ELH) track, founded in 2022, is designed for senior-level women leaders interested in advancing in hospitals and health care systems to positions such as CEO, CMO and CFO. The ELH track focus is on clinical operations and health care delivery.

The two tracks enjoy numerous opportunities for cross-learning and networking. In addition, all fellows work on the Institutional Action Project (IAP), which is detailed below.

Institutional Action Project

The Institutional Action Project (IAP) is a key activity supporting leadership development and organizational innovation. During the fellowship, each fellow designs, implements and initiates evaluation of an IAP. The goal of the IAP is to expand the fellow's leadership skills and institutional visibility through an institutional initiative that aligns with the fellow’s experience and expertise and that meets an organizational goal or need. The purpose of the IAP is to integrate the curricular resources and peer support of the fellowship in a tangible leadership contribution to the fellow's institution.

The ELAM Impact

The effectiveness of ELAM's distinctive approach to leadership preparation is broadly recognized within the academic health community. ELAM graduates now number over 1,500 and serve in numerous leadership positions – department head through university president – at 300 U.S. and Canadian academic health centers. View our Fast Facts for more information on the far-reaching impacts of the ELAM program.

Acceptance into ELAM is determined through a competitive selection process, in which approximately 96 candidates for ELAM and 48 candidates for ELH are chosen each year.

For more information on ELAM and the application process, see our FAQs.

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ELAM is a core program of the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pa. The Institute continues the legacy of advancing women in medicine that began in 1850 with the founding of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, the nation's first women's medical school and a predecessor of today's Drexel University College of Medicine.