HSS Leadership Track Description

This track is targeted for a few psychiatry residents who have an interest in mental health administration and organizational leadership. This track provides a graded, step-wise introduction to building leadership and administrative skills. This helps the resident to develop core skills and a sense of mastery and excitement about health care administration.

While this track is specifically designed for a few motivated residents, all physicians need a basic appreciation of personal leadership skills and organizational leadership. To this end, all residents participate in a semester long Administrative Psychiatry Course during PGY II. The goal of this seminar is to ensure that all residents understand basic concepts of mental health administration. Residents are exposed to basics of finance, strategy, systems redesign, personal leadership, organizational leadership, and operations.

For interested residents, the Cool Track offers a more detailed approach to leadership development.

Several key themes underlie the Leadership Track:

  • All residents need to become leaders in their own right. Psychiatrists will be called upon to lead in multiple settings, from small clinics to large multicenter research collaboratives.
  • The changing healthcare landscape requires that we train our residents to be flexible and creative thinkers regarding strategic planning of healthcare services for our patients.
  • There is need for scholarly work regarding psychiatric administration and leadership.
  • For those with a trajectory toward a career in administration, more extended time and mentoring is required.
  • Successful leadership development requires mentoring around a specific project in which the resident takes a leadership role, and which will result in a tangible improvement in our mental health system.

Cool Structure:


  • Residents interested in entering the formal Cool track are assisted in finding a faculty mentor(s) who will work with them over the PGY-III and PGY-IV years on a specific administrative project of mutual interest. Note that this project must be approved by the Mental Health Service leadership.
  • Resident and mentors should consider thoughtfully the amount of time necessary during the PGY IV year required for successful project completion. Some projects would benefit from a day a week for the year, others would benefit from an intensive 4 month stretch.


Residents implement their projects. It is expected that by the end of PGY-IV, residents will:

  • Complete a service enhancement project
  • Present a poster at Harvard Psychiatry Research Day and VA Research Day describing the project
  • Consider completing a manuscript for submission regarding the project
  • Receive Mentorship on how to continue to develop their interests in leadership and administration. Those residents wishing to pursue a career with a major focus on administration, for example, could develop an application for additional formal education (MPH, MBA, MHA) or receive guidance on applying for jobs with an administrative component.

ACGME Core Competencies for the Leadership Track:

Patient Care

In projects in which patients are involved, the resident will be able to deliver high quality care to individuals, and will be able to act in all cases in the patient’s best clinical interest.

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

The resident will become adept at communicating in written form to develop a project proposal and manuscripts, in visual form for manuscripts; and posters, and, perhaps most critically, verbally in the form of one to one discussions and larger group presentations. The resident will learn basic tenets of effective persuasion.

Medical Knowledge

The resident will become familiar with and will utilize existing knowledge in their field of research to identify a research question that will close knowledge gaps of interest to psychiatry. The resident will learn to utilize relevant research methodologies.


In all aspects of the projects, residents will respect others. Residents will gain skills particularly in the form of communication and negotiation.

Practice-Based Learning & Improvement

The resident will contribute to the development of new knowledge for themselves, their mentor’s research group, and the relevant field of inquiry. Residents will develop the ability to critique their own and others’ work in their field of inquiry. They will be able to apply the new knowledge to their own practice and understand the benefits and limitations of explaining and disseminating research findings to others.

System-Based Practice

In all aspects of the projects, residents will respect others. Residents will gain skills particularly in the form of communication and negotiation.