An Evaluation of Leadership Skills Development through the ‘Sandwich’ Glaucoma Fellowship
Authors:Victoria Liu1, Rita Whitford2, Karim F. Damji2. 1McMaster University, 2University of Alberta.
Author Disclosure Block:V. Liu: None. R. Whitford: None. K.F. Damji: Funded grants or clinical trials; Name of for-profit or not-for-profit organization(s); Alberta Innovates, Neurosciences, Rehabilitation and Vision SCN Seed Grant Competition. Funded grants or clinical trials; Description of relationship(s); Funding amount: $250 000 for project title: Degenerative Eye Condition VR Experience. Role in project is: Receptor site applicant representative, Funding amount: $8000 for project titled: The Burden of Vision Loss in Stroke: Barriers to Care Experienced by Stroke Survivors in Alberta (Co- Principal Investigator).
Study Design: Retrospective mixed methods evaluation
Methods: Participants of the SGF between 2007 and 2019 were asked to participate in a survey consisting of 20 questions modeled from similar health care program evaluations. Data collected included demographic information, leadership training exposure, development of leadership competencies, connections and support, and feedback for the fellowship program. Eighteen Likert scale rating sub questions elicited information regarding improvement of specific leadership abilities. Qualitative and quantitative data was analyzed using open coding and descriptive statistics, respectively.
Results: Seven of nine alumni responded. The fellowship strongly impacted leadership competencies including integrity (8.8, 95% CI 7.8-9.8), work ethic (8.64, 95% CI 7.7-9.6), and empathy (8.6, 95% CI 7.7-9.5). Eighty-five percent responded ‘yes’ to positive changes in their professional title and described an increasing role in mentorship of colleagues or residents as a result of new skills. Informal mentorship combined with exposure to glaucoma training enabled fellows to learn from different leadership styles. Although results indicated a positive impact on leadership skills, a lack of formal leadership training was noted by 3 respondents, and suggestions were made to customize the learning experience to meet participants needs including additional courses and lectures. The fellowship continues to support its’ fellows to date; this continued mentorship was noted by 4 of 7 respondents.
Conclusions: Leadership is necessary in health care and specifically in the context of low- and middle-income countries to bring about sustainable developments. In the SGF, informal mentorship equipped fellows practicing in regions of Sub Saharan Africa with competencies to rise in their own leadership and mentoring roles related to enhancing glaucoma management as well as other roles in their own