Setting the Standard for Medical Staff Leadership Development with a New Certification Program

Press Releases, September 12, 2007

MARBLEHEAD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Physician-hospital conflicts drain everybody's time and energy away from patient care. But are such conflicts an accident? Or is it a predictable result of a hospital's failure to invest in physician leadership development and succession planning?

Experience across the country proves it is the latter, according to Richard Sheff, MD, chair and executive director of The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro, Inc., in Marblehead, MA. Although change is inevitable in all aspects of healthcare, hospitals that invest in the development of medical staff leadership encourage physicians and hospitals to come together to tackle the challenges that constant change can present. "After all, the organized medical staff is one of the few places where an individual can be a member of the general medical staff one day and president the next," Sheff contends.

Yet a medical staff leader's duties, including dealing with unexpected challenges that land at his or her feet every day, are more complicated than ever before. The difficulty and complexity of the challenges they face in their leadership roles can be overwhelming. And the model of physicians in practice moving into important medical staff leadership positions without any training in management and leadership sets these individuals up to fail.

That's where medical staff leadership certification comes in. The Greeley Medical Staff Institute, dedicated to improving physician-hospital relations and the effectiveness of the organized medical staff in healthcare organizations, today announced the launch of the new Medical Staff Leadership Certification Program to certify the competency of medical staff leaders.

Why certification?

In response to the need to train medical staff leaders to serve effectively, numerous organizations have offered courses, seminars, and educational experiences for current and developing medical staff leaders. Yet nobody has defined the core knowledge and skills medical staff leaders need to fulfill their responsibilities, particularly in light of the fact that physicians generally commit six to 12 years to leadership, serving as a department chair, committee chair, medical executive committee member, and medical staff officer.

"The Greeley Medical Staff Institute has defined the minimum core knowledge and skills physicians need to fulfill their medical staff leadership responsibilities effectively," Sheff says.

The certification program has translated this into a required educational curriculum and a certifying examination.

Achieving certification

Candidates achieve certification as a medical staff leader, leading to the designation CMSL (standing for Certified Medical Staff Leader), by completing a required educational curriculum and passing an examination that tests the candidate's ability to apply information learned to the real challenges faced by hospitals and medical staffs today

Training in each of eleven required competencies must be completed through participation in educational activities that qualify for Category 1 continuing medical education credit authorized by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. Such educational programs are currently offered by numerous associations and organizations that cover the mandated topics in the curriculum. By taking courses covering a prescribed curriculum and passing the certification exam, the physician will become a certified medical staff leader.

The medical staff leadership certification examination is a scientifically developed, statistically validated test of the candidate's understanding of, and ability to apply, the content covered in the required curriculum. The test is available online to qualified candidates.

During the certifying process, physicians gain information and new perspectives that motivate them to work collaboratively with the hospital in achieving mission-critical improvements in quality and patient safety while managing hospital costs.

The educational requirements necessary to apply for certification are available at Candidates may also download the program application and Candidate Handbook from the website.


The Medical Staff Leadership Certification Program has been established as a service of the Greeley Medical Staff Institute ( to define and promote a minimum level of competency for hospital medical staff leaders to support the continuous improvement of healthcare for all in the face of the serious challenges that characterize healthcare today.

For more information about the Medical Staff Leadership Certification Program, visit