Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Curriculum

The Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Curriculum was developed as an integrated curriculum for all Duke medical students that spans the four years of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) education, teaching emotional intelligence, integrity, teamwork, selfless service, and critical thinking.

The first two years (Foundations and Experiential) of the LEAD program includes lectures, workshops, clinical skills foundations, team-based learning (TBL) activities. The third and fourth years (Electives and Capstone) provide students with opportunities to practice newly acquired skills through a variety of active leadership roles, to include being a student facilitator for the LEAD program.  The opportunities in the third and fourth years are considered elective.

Course Director
Fatima Z. Syed, MD, MSc

Associate Course Directors
Cecily Peterson, MD 

Joe Doty, PhD

Assistant Course Directors
Chan Park, MD

Dean Taylor, MD

Adia Ross, MD

Leadership Competencies



The leadership competencies from the Duke Healthcare Leadership Model and Educational Framework are the foundation for the LEAD Program and provides a framework for interpersonal and team leadership skill development. 


  • Patient Centered – Acting with focus on the values and goals of patients. 
  • Emotional Intelligence – The ability to recognize and understand thinking and emotions in yourself and others; and to use this awareness to effectively manage your behavior and relationships. 
    • Developing Self-Awareness: being aware of one’s own values, principles, and assumptions and how they interplay within the team dynamic.
    • Cultivating Personal Resilience: ability to cope with and contextualize demanding situations.
    • Maintaining Personal Balance: prioritizing activities to maintain mental and physical health as well as cultivate a positive outlook.
    • Cultural Humility: the ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the person.
  • Critical Thinking – Using all available sources of knowledge to create appropriate and effective solutions while being aware of internal and external biases. 
  • Teamwork – Collaborating and maximizing one’s role to enhance team performance and cohesion. 
  • Integrity – Being honest and acting in accordance with strong moral principles in one’s personal and professional life. 
  • Service – Prioritizing others’ needs over individual wants and desires, while maintaining personal and professional balance. 
    • Advocating for patients at all levels of the healthcare system.
    • A purposeful commitment to patients’ health needs with learned knowledge, compassion, and benevolence.

Foundational Curriculum 

Activity Time Frame Description Objectives
The Patient MS1-Immersion 1-3 afternoon sessions during which a physician and patient pair have a discussion in front of the classroom about their journey together in the healthcare setting and about their relationship.  Students then have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with this pair.  Physicians and patients may come alone to this session or bring with them family, friends, or other members of the healthcare team. 

Recognize the complex and multi-dimensional patient journey through the medical care system. 

 Recognize the importance of the physician-patient (family-patient) relationship.  

Recognize the negative emotional/psychological/social impact of illness on patients and the potential mitigation through helpful and healthful relationships with their physician and health care team. 
Team Charters MS1-FPC1 First-year students will attend the large group session introducing Team Charters.  They will meet in their TBL teams and Gross Anatomy teams to write their team charter with the facilitation of an MS3 student leader or LEAD faculty member. 

Practice negotiating a Team Charter within a non-hierarchical team.  

Improve team function.  

Practice personal and team accountability. 
Giving Effective Feedback MS1-FPC1 First-years students will attend the large group session introducing models for Effective Feedback.  They will discuss personal examples of effective and less effective feedback in the setting of “giving feedback up.”  Recognize the elements of effective feedback.
Team Dynamics sessions for TBL and Pathology Teams   MS1-FPC1 and FPC2

In their small groups, First-year students will meet for a guided discussion of their team dynamics and discuss the key components of team dynamics: 

  • Having a shared purpose 
  • Interdependence 
  • Participative Leadership 
  • Trust, openness, and willingness to correct mistakes 
  • Diversity and inclusion 
Consensus decision-making. 

Recognize the key components of Team Dynamics.  

Practice honest discussion of Team Dynamics within their existing learning teams.  

Improve team function.
Everything DiSC Workplace Seminar MS1 Students will participate in an Everything DiSC Workplace 1/2-day seminar.

Practice self-awareness.  

Recognize the diversity of personal style among all persons.  

Practice self-management in communication with others.
PIONEER LEAD Curriculum MS2 Further understand personal leadership development.  



Activity Year(s) Offered Description Objectives Assessment
SIX-L (Students Invested in eXploring Leadership) Deep Dive Book Club  MS1 The SIX-L Curriculum provides "Deep Dive" reading options in each Duke Healthcare Leadership Model competency.  Students will have the opportunity to read and discuss these selected texts and bring other selected texts to the group for a book club style discussion.  These sessions are open to all students.

Reflect on personal values in leadership. 

Practice self-awareness.  

Recognize diversity of thought.  

Practice expressing personal opinion.  

Practice creating an inviting space for diversity of thought.
SIX-L (Students Invested in eXploring Leadership) Student Facilitator


3rd and 4th-year students have the opportunity to facilitate this 6 session symposium which explores the LEAD model competencies using journal article pre-readings, media reviews in a large group format, and directed small group discussions of self-reflection, identifying ideal behavior modeling in others, understanding applications in patient-centered health care delivery, and finally short term goal setting applications. Practice creating interactive learning sessions for others.  
SIX-L (Students Invested in eXploring Leadership)





This 6-session (6 hour) symposium explores the LEAD model competencies using journal article pre-readings, media reviews in a large group format, and directed small group discussions of self-reflection, identifying ideal behavior mo.deling in others, understanding applications in patient-centered health care delivery, and finally short-term goal setting applications.  The sessions are facilitated by 3rd or 4th-year medical students directed by LEAD faculty

Reflect on the competencies of patient-centered leadership.  

Practice self-reflection on the competencies of patient-centered leadership.
Self-assessment through written reflection.