December 19, 2018

Polar bearIn preparation of my taking over as NHMS president, I attended the Karl M. Altenburger, MD, Physician Leadership Academy with Jim Potter that was sponsored by The Physicians Foundation through the Brandeis Heller School that was held at Babson Executive Conference Centre in Boston. This was a 3-day leadership training that focused on team building and strategies for change for state medical society physician leaders and CEOs.

In one of the first-day sessions, we performed an activity in which we were part of a group whose plane crashed in the arctic. We had a few provisions, $153 and then 15 items that we needed to rank in order of importance. We ranked them individually, broke into small groups and ranked as a group then compared to the ranking of survival experts. 

While I likely would have died if alone, our group did significantly better working together, as did all of the groups. What I found interesting was that the instructor told us that when he performs this exercise with first-year medical students every individual scores better than the group! What a difference years of practice and experience brings. We have all learned that when you have a group of experienced people you need to allow each individual to bring something to the table.

This exercise reinforced the importance of listening and being open to change.

Listening is an underused skill – not just hearing and planning a response but thoughtful listening. 

All stakeholders in the state need to come together in regards to the important health issues in New Hampshire and listen and learn and survive together.


Tessa Lafortune-Greenberg, MD
NHMS President