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Soham Bandyopadhyay: Leading with a purpose to make a positive impact on patient care

As an academic clinical fellow in neurosurgery at Southampton General Hospital and part of the Oxford University Global Surgery Group, I had the privilege of being a scholar in the Amsterdam 2020-2021 cohort of the Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA) when I was an FY1.

I now serve as a cohort director at the HLA where I have seen the incredible impact that the programme has on the leadership development of healthcare professionals.

During the HLA Scholars programme, I was proud to create a project aimed at building research capacity in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to increase the number of first and senior authors from low-resource settings. I have also used the five pillars of the HLA to navigate my career decisions, including negotiating for my colleagues and myself, empowering research participants and patients, designing medical education programmes, and taking on leadership positions nationally and internationally.

As a cohort director, I oversee a specific group of students and ensure they have a positive and productive experience. This involves organising and facilitating educational sessions, coordinating with guest speakers, and providing support to students as needed. Cohort directors play an essential role in helping students navigate their leadership journey and achieve their goals.

I would highly recommend the HLA to other clinicians because it provides a unique opportunity to develop essential leadership skills that are not typically taught in medical school. The programme helps clinicians become more effective communicators, collaborators, and decision-makers, which are critical skills for success in healthcare. The value of the HLA lies in its ability to empower clinicians to lead with purpose and make a positive impact on patient care and healthcare delivery.

Through the HLA, I have learned to think critically about leadership and to approach problems in a structured and systematic manner. I have also had the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds and specialities, which has been a valuable networking experience. I have found that the skills and knowledge I have gained through the HLA have helped me in my role as a clinician and researcher, and they will continue to serve me well as I progress in my career.

The HLA Scholars programme has been a great success since it started back in 2016, and now it's spreading across the UK, Europe and even beyond! There are cohorts in London, Newcastle, Bristol, Belfast, and Edinburgh, as well as Amsterdam. The programme is also expanding this year to include virtual cohorts, so even more international scholars join.

The HLA is an excellent opportunity for medical, nursing, and allied health professionals and I believe it has the potential to transform the way we think about healthcare leadership.


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