My Experience with APEX

Dr. Zuckerman 

by Lee M. Zuckerman, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, 
Loma Linda University School of Medicine

Dr. Zuckerman is a member of the 2019 cohort of the AOA | USC APEX Leadership Certificate Program.

I decided to pursue the APEX program because I was interested in personal growth and enhancing my leadership skills. What I found when I attended the first in-person session in Chicago was the beginning of an exciting pathway to produce tangible change. Both the instructors and my colleagues were engaging and collaborative in a way that provided me with multiple new perspectives on how to invoke change at a local, regional, and national level. 

At this introductory session, the concepts and foundations of organizational change were discussed. The difference I noticed in this program is the focus was on taking these concepts and developing ideas for organizational improvement, as opposed to simple, generic answers. It also demonstrated the bond we have as orthopaedic surgeons, highlighting the similar interests we share, and the positive changes we want to make for our profession.

The program has progressed to address how to evaluate the current attitude and status of our organization, and how to go about making changes. In April, we spent a month on how to negotiate. This was fantastic as it discussed how to create integrated solutions and create a collaborative instead of hostile environment during a negotiation. The concept of creating value and finding mutual solutions to problems was one of the highlights of this activity. Skills were reinforced through webinars as well as one-on-one and group negotiations. The scenarios that were utilized for the mock negotiations really helped me to learn how to prepare for a negotiation and to start thinking about solutions that would benefit everyone involved. 

The creative alternatives that people in the group came up with during this time demonstrated the importance of diversity in thinking. By comparing the results of my negotiations with other members of the group, I was able to really evaluate my strengths and weaknesses as a negotiator. Since we did multiple scenarios, I was able to experiment and work on different methods to optimize the outcome.

So far, the APEX program has been an exciting and high-yield experience. The topics have been pertinent and delivered in a fashion that is easily relatable to the issues I deal with on a daily basis as an orthopaedic surgeon. It has already given me a different perspective on how to approach invoking change and the possibilities that would come with that. I’m greatly looking forward to the next two in-person sessions to continue to expand the foundation that I obtained since the program began earlier this year. 

Registration is now open for the 2020 AOA | USC APEX Leadership Certificate Program.