American Association for Physician Leadership


PLJ Author Submission Instructions

Thinking of submitting a peer-reviewed paper for our award-winning journal?
Here’s how to do it.
The Physician Leadership Journal welcomes the submission of originally authored manuscripts for peer review that meet the following competency, formatting, and preparation guidelines. Articles may not be under consideration for publication elsewhere, nor published previously.

Article Topics

Articles must address one of these 11 competencies to qualify for peer review:

  • Careers: The journey of a physician leader throughout his or her clinical and/or executive maturation.
  • Communication: Strategies to convey meaning from one entity or group to another.
  • Finance: Dealing with the operational aspect of budgeting and planning as a physician leader.
  • Healthcare Organizations: The organizational role of the physician leader within healthcare systems.
  • Healthcare Professionals: The role of the physician leader within clinical practice.
  • Health Law and Policy: Current or past policy issues or topics influencing physician leadership.
  • Innovation: The use of novel and creative methods to enhance the role or capabilities of leaders.
  • Leadership: Tactics to develop and/or enrich a leader’s ability to guide individuals and teams.
  • Management: Pertaining to the administration of any organization as a physician leader.
  • Patient Care and Quality: The scientific improvement of quality and patient safety for physician leaders.
  • Technology: Tools and technologies influencing leadership.

Manuscript Submission

Articles must be submitted via email to Be sure to indicate which competency your manuscript addresses, and the submission type of your manuscript.

The file (Word document) should include a cover page with the suggested title of the article, the names of the authors in the order they are to appear, the authors’ degrees and professional affiliations, and complete contact information for all authors. Please provide a publication-quality headshot of all authors.

All text, references, figures and tables should be in one double-spaced document (1-inch margins, 12-point type). Use subheads to organize the article and break up large amounts of text. References, figures and tables should be at the end of the document.
Abstracts are limited to 250 words and should be structured for both the Research Articles and Field Reports and unstructured for Discussion Articles. Structured abstracts should include a brief description of the primary research objective, methodology, main findings, and conclusions. Unstructured abstracts should provide a summary of the article’s purpose, main discussion points, and highlight the article’s relevance to the current healthcare and/or physician leadership climate.

Provide six to eight key words that will be added to the end of the abstract; these will help us index the article and will be published with the abstract.
Obtain written permission from the copyright holder (usually the publisher) to reproduce previously published material. All letters of permission must accompany the manuscript upon submission.
Tables should be numbered and titled, cited in numerical order in the manuscript. Spell out any abbreviations used in the table’s footnote section. Tables must be included as editable components of the manuscript file, placed at the end of the manuscript.
All figures (charts, graphs, screenshots, etc.) must be numbered and have legends. All figures cited must be in numerical order in the manuscript. Figures must be submitted as files that are separate from the manuscript text file and should be submitted in their editable native format (e.g., PowerPoint, Excel).

If research was funded by a granting agency, include the information on a separate page of your file.
Review our official PLJ Publication Policies.
Send questions about submissions to

Submission Types

All submissions must be structured using one of three formats.

Research Articles

Manuscript submissions that include a controlled experimental investigation and provide statistical support for research findings. These should include:

  • A clear description and literature support of problem.
  • A clear description of experimental methodology.
  • A clear description of the implications.
  • A limit of 15 double-spaced pages (not including title page and references).
  • Participant count and setting
  • Research design
  • Intervention
  • Dependent variables
  • Measurement tools
  • Procedures
  • Statistical analysis
  • A clear description of results

Field reports

These manuscript submissions provide an outlet for authors to highlight the value of operational interventions and findings that do not satisfy the needs for a full-length research article. These should include:

  • A brief description of problem and operational significance
  • A review of the operational process that led to development of an intervention
  • A brief description of intervention/solution used
  • A concise description of results
  • A concise description for next steps
  • A concise description of operational implications
  • A limit of 10 double-spaced pages (not including title page and references)

Discussion articles

Manuscript submissions that provide reader orientation to an important topic affecting the healthcare and/or leadership climate. They should include:

  • A review of the relevant literature to set context for the discussion
  • A concise discussion about future research direction
  • A limit of 15 double-spaced pages (not including title page and references)


References in text must be cited numerically, in order as cited in the manuscript. The reference list must appear at the end of the text. Do not use automatic footnote or endnote programs or embedded footnotes. Use exponent font instead. References should follow AMA style. For example:
Journal article
3. Silber JH, Bellini LM, Shea, JA, et al. Patient Safety Outcomes Under Flexible and Standard Resident Duty-Hour Rules. N Engl J Med. 2019; 380:905-914.
6. Dahl, OJ. The High-Performing Medical Practice: Workflow, Practice Finances, and Patient-Centric Care. Phoenix, MD: Greenbranch Publishing; 2019: 25-30
Newspaper article
9. Armour S. Health-care spending Projected to accelerate as population ages. Wall Street Journal. Feb. 20, 2019.
12. A good meeting needs a clear decision-making process. Harvard Business Review  . Accessed March 11, 2019.

For over 45 years.

The American Association for Physician Leadership has helped physicians develop their leadership skills through education, career development, thought leadership and community building.

The American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) changed its name from the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) in 2014. We may have changed our name, but we are the same organization that has been serving physician leaders since 1975.


Mail Processing Address
PO Box 96503 I BMB 97493
Washington, DC 20090-6503

Payment Remittance Address
PO Box 745725
Atlanta, GA 30374-5725
(800) 562-8088
(813) 287-8993 Fax



AAPL providers leadership development programs designed to retain valuable team members and improve patient outcomes.

American Association for Physician Leadership®

formerly known as the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE)