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Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® Application Information Frequently Asked Questions


Does ELAM offer a program every year?

Yes. ELAM is a yearlong program that begins in the late spring of each year. The application process begins in October and applicants are notified in early April.

What are the estimated total costs to attend the ELAM program?

The overall costs for the ELAM program are comparable to other national leadership programs in higher education and considerably less than those of physician executive programs. Tuition covers the costs of course materials, faculty, continuing medical education fees and special events. See the Application Information page for details.

What is the time commitment for participating in the ELAM program?

ELAM is an intensive, yearlong program requiring a significant time commitment. While most fellows successfully complete the program while continuing their other responsibilities, we strongly recommend that candidates negotiate for some release time if they decide to apply. During the ELAM program year, fellows attend three onsite sessions of approximately one week each: two (fall and spring) in the Philadelphia area and one (winter) with varying locations. See the Application Information page for more information about dates and locations. In addition to the weeklong residencies, fellows complete a variety of readings and other assignments, including a significant institutional leadership project that provides an opportunity for them to test their new skills and learning. Fellows are also expected to participate regularly in ELAM's online learning platform.

What is the Institutional Action Project? How should I identify a project idea?

During the application process, candidates should explore ideas for an Institutional Action Project (IAP) that they will work on over the course of the fellowship. The project should address issues beyond the candidate’s specialty/unit and be developed in consultation with the candidate’s ELAM sponsor and other senior executive mentors.

The project should align with the candidate’s experience/expertise and provide an opportunity to advance her leadership skills and enhance institutional visibility while meeting an organizational need. The project can be part of a larger initiative. It may be an incoming challenge to a recently appointed position or it could be re-energizing a stalled but important initiative.

The project should stretch the candidate's capabilities and broaden her leadership capacity. A list of IAPs completed by former fellows is available at the ELAM Leaders Forum web page. The Leaders Forum is the venue at which fellows showcase their Institutional Action Projects.

Is ELAM the right program for me?

ELAM is an executive leadership program for women pursuing leadership positions at academic health centers. ELAM is not a clinical physician executive program, nor is it a medical education program. To help you decide if ELAM is for you, we encourage you to read the materials in the About ELAM and Application Information sections of this website. Contact ELAM fellows in your area. Consult with your faculty affairs dean. And of course, feel free to contact the ELAM office at or 215.991.8240.

Applying to ELAM

Can I apply if I do not have a medical or dental degree?

Yes. If you have a full-time faculty appointment as associate professor or professor at a medical, dental, public health or pharmacy school and a PhD, EdD, MPH or similar degree, you are eligible to apply.

Can I apply if I am not at the level of associate professor?

To be considered for the ELAM program, candidates must hold at least a rank of associate professor or higher, and have some significant administrative experience. We suggest the AAMC Women in Medicine programs, the ADEA Leadership Institute, and other similar programs for less senior women.

Can I apply if my appointment is not in the medical, dental, public health or pharmacy schools?

Occasionally, an applicant has held a primary appointment outside the medical, dental, public health or pharmacy school and a secondary appointment within one of these schools. In this case the admissions committee considers the applicant's goals as they relate to seeking leadership within academic medicine, dentistry, public health or pharmacy.

Do all the application materials have to submitted together?

Your application, CV and a published journal article must all be submitted together online. Letters of support must be submitted separately online by your dean and recommenders.

How are applications evaluated for acceptance to ELAM?

The admissions committee, which includes deans, other senior administration officials and ELAM alumnae, reviews all application materials submitted by the candidates. They consider individual potential, institutional commitment to foster that individual's leadership opportunities, and a variety of diversity criteria. Beyond the academic and administrative credentials in the applicant's CV, the committee examines the personal statements for indications of a desire and readiness for leadership. See our Application Information and Mentoring Best Practices [PDF] for further details.

May I have a couple of days extension to submit my application materials?

All materials, including nomination/recommendation letters, must be submitted online by the due date.

Still Have Questions?

In the event that you require further assistance with your question, please feel free to contact us via email at

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.