Lukas Radbruch, International Associate Faculty of the Institute of Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice, USA, (and Chair of Palliative Medicine, University of Bonn, Germany).
I have just come back from San Diego, where I spent a week as a mentor in the first residential course of the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI). This initiative of the Institute for Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice, USA, aims to develop leaders and advance palliative care capacity in low and moderate resource countries.
This is the second cohort that has just started. It is with some excitement that I have come back: excitement to meet with all these fine participants from all over the world. This first course week was devoted to the concept of developing the leader within you. You have to be able to lead yourself before you can lead others, and the first week had a lot of lectures and exercises that helped to understand different personality types, leadership and learning styles.
The course will go on with two more residential weeks until the end of next year, but also a lot of activities in between courses, as the participants follow their own individual development plans in close liaison with their mentors.
Participants include European leaders from Albania, Armenia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey, and among the eight mentors there is a European representation from Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. The course will help them to become better leaders in their organisation and to contribute to the regional, national and international development of palliative care.
The first cohort of the LDI with 21 participants graduated in November 2011. I was a mentor in that cohort too, and I am still excited about what the participants have been able to achieve. They have established new services in developing countries, worked on national plans and strategies, founded national associations and raised public awareness in palliative care.
I also found it exciting to participate in the course. Apart from my army training, I have never had any formal leadership training in my medical career. I have been learning a lot from the activities and group work, and I am certain that this will help me in my own personal development. I am also deeply humbled by being able to spend some time with so many distinguished pioneers in the field, in the first as well as now in the second cohort. Not only the mentors, but also the participants have been carefully selected, and many are doing great things already in their countries. It is exciting to get a glimpse of palliative care in different settings and different cultures, and it is good to see examples of changes being achieved against all odds in developing countries.
We all are thankful to Frank Ferris and Shannon Moore, the principals responsible for the LDI, the whole team at San Diego Hospice, and the funders: Open Society Foundation, Office of International Affairs of the National Cancer Institute and The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. They made this course happen, and I am sure it will change the world of palliative care. Find out more about the Leadership Development Institute
Look out for more posts in the next few days from some of the European leaders who are taking part in this course.
More information on the EAPC can be found at www.eapcnet.eu