By John Lumpkin, MD, MPH
The future of health and health care depends, in part, on our ability to recognize and support great young leaders. Medical colleges are training and graduating students who have the spirit and motivation necessary to sustain change. As these young doctors advance, they gain valuable experience. Many with a decade of experience in the field often retain the passion they felt when they received their medical school diplomas. Across a wide variety of sectors, they are putting their training into practice in innovative ways. They are a critical part of our future.
As the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation marks 40 years of work to improve health and health care, we seek to honor 10 individuals, 40 years old and younger, who show great promise for leading the way. The Young Leader Awards: Recognizing Leadership for a Healthier America will provide these leaders with awards of $40,000. Third-party nominations are being accepted until July 16, 2012, at RWJFyoungleaderawards.org. Winners will be announced at an RWJF conference in Princeton, New Jersey, at the end of October.
The Young Leader Awards are designed to recognize emerging leaders, including physicians, who have demonstrated the characteristics needed to improve health and health care through leadership and innovation. These characteristics — a combination of personal attributes, commitment to health and health care, and successful experience — demonstrate an ability to lead and innovate, and signal the potential for even greater impact in the coming years.
Today, these young leaders might work in government, business, or nonprofit organizations; they may come from a variety of geographic, disciplinary, and philosophical orientations. Examples of potential young leaders include but are not limited to: scientists working on innovations with potential to cure or largely control major diseases; technology developers who could lower the cost of health care or public health services; role models or behavioral scientists who could greatly increase health consciousness and healthful behaviors; change agents shaping policy, systems, or behavior, who could successfully address important social factors for health; and developers of innovative community programs or new learning approaches that show the way for other communities.
Training in medicine is an important contribution to improving health and health care for future decades. Leadership is also vital; by recognizing young leaders as their careers develop, we hope to encourage them to become even stronger and stimulate others to lead as well. I hope you will join us by nominating someone for the Young Leader Awards and by sharing the Call for Nomination with your colleagues.
—John Lumpkin, MD, MPH, is Senior Vice President and Director of the Health Care Group at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
For complete information about the Call for Nominations, visit RWJFyoungleaderawards.org.