Standing-Room Crowd Marks Revival of AAPL Vanguard Program

By Andy Smith | AAPL
May 7, 2018

The program to re-engage the association’s most-seasoned members draws a motivated audience.

vanguard angood

AAPL President and CEO Peter Angood opens the Vanguard session in Boston. He says the association will move forward with the program “in a much more contemporary way.” | AAPL

BOSTON, Mass. — It had been four years since the Vanguard Group — a group of experienced physician leaders with a thirst for knowledge and a mission to influence health care — last convened. That hiatus ended in resounding fashion in April, when 120 seasoned leaders packed the Back Bay Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel during the American Association for Physician Leadership’s 2018 Physician Leadership Summit.

vanguard daniel

Lawyer James Daniel discusses mergers and acquisitions during a Vanguard presentation on industry disruption. | AAPL

So overwhelming was the turnout for the Vanguard Program on its first day that organizers had to bring dozens of extra chairs into the ballroom to accommodate the standing-room crowd. By the second day of the two-day event, the room had been expanded to accommodate the interest.

“The Vanguard group represents those folks who are established in their career, are well-educated, have good roles, good successes and lots of wonderful experiences,” AAPL President and CEO Peter Angood told the gathering, explaining the program had been put on hiatus while the association restructured its offerings. But “here we are today, reincarnating the Vanguard program, and it allows us to do it in a much more contemporary way as we move forward with the organization’s approaches.”

In the months leading up to the event, Angood and a task force of about 24 senior-leader members, collaborated on programing that would engage seasoned leaders and experienced, CPE-credentialed leaders. They resolved that Vanguard programming should feature the following:

  • Peer-to-peer interactions and networking.
  • Examination and deliberation of higher-level topics appropriate to seasoned leaders.
  • The establishment of an online community.
  • Occasional webinars and discussion forums.
  • Resource materials.
vanguard crowd

There was an overwhelming turnout for the Vanguard program in the Back Bay Ballroom at the Boston Sheraton during the AAPL Physician Leadership Summit on April 29-30. | AAPL

With plans in the works to build out the technical side of this endeavor, the first phase of the enhanced Vanguard program was on full display in Boston, where six expert speakers expounded on disruptions within health care. Each speaker generated the kind of impassioned and enlightening conversations familiar to veteran Vanguard partners.

The long-term challenge for AAPL, Angood says, is to keep members engaged in the organization long after they’ve completed their educational objectives — to maintain a sense of community within Vanguard, CPE, fellowship, and even those who don’t complete their physician leadership education.


  • Becoming part of AAPL's Vanguard Program begins with earning certification in medical management by receiving your CPE credential. This certification is awarded based on your stature as a physician, educational achievements, medical management experience and completion of a multiday, skill-building capstone event administered by the Certifying Commission in Medical Management. This also is the way to become a fellow of the association.
  • The Council of Fellows bestows this honor on physician leaders who are long-standing association members, have earned a CPE, and have demonstrated knowledge and experience, including attainment of regional or national stature.

“What we’re all about is trying to make significant change in health care,” Angood says. “That’s what groups like this can do. We’re already doing it in our own individual ways, [but] collectively we can do more.”

Vanguard provides the platform from which AAPL can achieve engagement as a community, Angood says, “to create that change that we really want to create.”

“This is our opportunity to network and share ideas [that] we can bring back to our communities,” says new AAPL board chair Greg Jolissaint, MD, MS, CPE, FAAPL.

“We have the ability and the opportunity to really make a change in health care, whether it’s federal health care or community health care. Our congressmen and our senators want to hear from us. And if we’re not talking to them, they can’t make the kind of changes that we need them to make in the near term. I know Peter’s talking to them, but all of us need to talk to them — the people that can impact our community. So, I encourage you to take advantage of the position that you’re in and talk to those folks.”

Andy Smith is a senior editor with the American Association for Physician Leadership. 


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