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Meridithe Anne Mendelsohn, Ph.D., is a 2016 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University

Dr. Mendelsohn [center] at her Dissertation Defense with Committee Member, Dr. Wergin [left] and Committee Chair, Dr. Morgan-Roberts [right].

Dissertation Committee

  • Laura Morgan Roberts, Ph.D., Chair
  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Dianne Shumay, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Lynn Wooten, Ph.D., External Reader

*One MP4 video file and three MP3 audio files accompany the Dissertation PDF, and are accessible as supplemental files


action research, medical residents, graduate medical education, professional identity, leadership awareness, adult education, educational theory, health education, medicine, health care, organizational behavior, relational leadership

Document Type


Publication Date



Patient-centered care requires robust physician leadership in all aspects of healthcare in order to lead organizations to this ideal.Programs in Graduate Medical Education provide inconsistent and limited exposure to formal leadership development experiences for physicians in their final year of residency training.Literature addressing leadership training for residents focuses on the scarcity of effective programs that deliver adequate training and provide measurable outcomes.The purpose of this study was to explore how chief medical and surgical residents develop leadership awareness and experience training in leadership and engage chief residents, faculty mentors, and program administrators in a collaborative process, developing a leadership training model within an independent (non-academic) residency training program.To understand the residents’ and the institutional experience in this realm, focused interviews were conducted with chief residents from Family Medicine and Surgery, faculty mentors, program administrators, and regional subject matter experts.Professional identity development of the residents was investigated and related to their experiences.Action research was the framework for this study due to the iterative and participative nature of the methods.Subsequent to the interviews, outgoing and incoming chief residents engaged in collaborative sessions during which peak leadership experiences were discussed.The outcomes of the sessions and analysis of the interviews were discussed with the program directors for future consideration of curriculum change.The findings indicated a change in leadership awareness among chief residents demonstrating that stimulus and subsequent reflection prompted the residents to review their roles as leaders, seeking opportunities to apply leadership awareness to their daily work.In order to teach and role model leadership, training has to be implemented that interposes the same rigor as in clinical training.Experiential opportunities for leadership training exist that are not utilized.Conflict exists between the financial contribution of the chief residents and time allocated to training.Relationship and reflection were identified as the common threads through identity, leadership, education, and organizational behavior.A pilot program training surgical chief residents in the relational model of palliative care and leadership is underway as a catalytic effect of this study.One MP4 and three MP3 files accompany the Dissertation PDF, and are accessible as supplemental files.This Dissertation is available in Open Access at AURA:Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLink ETD Center,


Meridithe Anne Mendelsohn, Ph.D.

ORCID Scholar ID : 0000-0001-8329-964X

Communication between health care providers and patients is at the heart of optimal patient care. Meridithe is the principle of Leading by Design, a consultancy organization dedicated to enhancing communication between providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, chaplains, social workers) and patients. She facilitates provider courses, group retreats and meetings structured to enhance dialogue and, ultimately, patient care. Her research interest lies in Graduate Medical Education, particularly with medical and surgical chief residents regarding leadership awareness, skills, and professional identity. Her dissertation was titled, Leading by Design: Physicians in Training and Leadership Awareness. The topic of her dissertation explored the state of leadership awareness among chief residents and resulted in development of curriculum and coursework to support chief residents as they prepare to enter the world of physician practice. She supports the Triple Aim as presented by the Institute for Health Care Improvement: Commitment to improving the patient experience of care, improving population health, and containing per capita cost. Additionally, she believes strongly in work/life balance for health care providers and is dedicated to helping them realize that ideal in their work life.

Meridithe’s roles in oncology health care administration at the University of California, San Francisco, Sutter Health, and Swedish Cancer Institute have led her to identify the important role that communication plays. Following her master’s degree in Organizational Change, she has continued to focus on facilitating change in health care. The doctoral degree from Antioch’s Leadership and Change program allowed her to develop her area of focus in the changing universe of health care.

DissClip_1.01_Author_Introduction.mp4 (10843 kB)
Video Author Introduction

DissClip_4.01_OCR_11.mp3 (1142 kB)
Audio File

DissClip_5.01_Faculty_3.mp3 (1010 kB)
Audio File

DissClip_5.02_OCR_5..mp3 (747 kB)
Audio File