Diversity Leadership Program

The AAN recognizes the importance of having leaders that reflect the demographics of its members and the patients they serve. To promote greater diversity among its leaders, the AAN has developed a leadership diversification strategy. The AAN Diversity Leadership Program (DLP) is a crucial aspect of this strategy intended to identify, mentor, and engage AAN members from underrepresented minority groups.  

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Application Deadline: December 18, 2017 

For more information about the Diversity Leadership Program, please contact Bonnie Sova.

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Program Overview

The American Academy of Neurology is committed to building leadership reflective of its diverse member and patient demographics. This prestigious eight-month program is a crucial aspect of our strategy to identify and engage talented and highly motivated AAN members from underrepresented minority groups. We provide a rigorous developmental experience that fully involves participants in meaningful work with the AAN. 

Up to 10 Participants Will Receive:

  • Individualized leadership coaching
  • Mentoring by an experienced AAN member leader
  • Leadership education
  • Opportunity collaborate in a group project with final presentation to the AAN Board at their September 2018 meeting in Minneapolis

Participants selected for this rigorous developmental experience will:

  • Take part in monthly coaching conference calls with a professional consultant
  • Participate in regularly scheduled calls with an AAN mentor
  • Collaborate on an in-depth group project, to be reported to the AAN/AAN Institute Board in Fall 2018
  • Take part in two mandatory face-to-face in-depth education sessions (all expenses will be paid)
  • Attend the AAN Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 20-24, 2018
  • Fall Graduation/Leadership Training at the AAN Headquarters in Minneapolis, September 13-15, 2018

AAN members in all practice settings at any stage in their post-residency careers who are committed to the profession of neurology and to providing high-quality patient-centered care are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be a US AAN member from one or more of the following underrepresented minority groups in neurology: African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native ethnicity.

Note: Preference will be given to applicants who have not completed one of the following AAN Leadership Programs: Emerging Leaders Program, Transforming Leaders Program, Women Leading in Neurology, and Practice Leadership Program. 

Application Requirements:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Essay: Please write an essay that addresses the following:
    • How do you intend to contribute to the AAN and the larger community?
    • Describe your leadership philosophy
    • What are your personal and professional developmental goals?
    • Goals and expectations for participation in the program
    • Expectations, interests, and goals for your mentor relationship
  • Photo
  • Letter of recommendation
Key Program Dates

Participants must attend two face-to-face sessions (all expenses paid): 

  • AAN Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 20-24, 2018
  • Fall Graduation/Leadership Training at the AAN Headquarters in Minneapolis, September 13-15, 2018 

Diversity Leadership Program - 2017 

Michelle Bell, MD
Roy H. Hamilton, MD, MS, FAAN  
Omotola A. Hope, MD
Rodney O. Leacock, MD      
Erika Marulanda-Londono, MD
Cumara O'Carroll, MD
Jose H. Posas, MD                 
Natividad Stover, MD
Richard S.K. Young, MD, FAAN

17 Spears

Roderick Spears, MD 
University of Pennsylvania
2015 Diversity Leadership Program 

The leadership skills gained were invaluable, and as a direct result of this program, I have increased my engagement with the AAN, which has been deeply rewarding. Since participating in the program I have been involved with the Practice Committee, Solo Practice Task Force, and Breakthroughs in Neurology work group, and since participating and I was even recognized by Castle Connolly as a Top Doctor in Neurology 2016 and featured in Philadelphia Magazine's Top Doctor Issue 2017.  

17 Salas

Rachel Salas, MD, FAAN
John Hopkins University
2015 Diversity Leadership Program 

The Diversity Leadership Program has been invaluable to me and went beyond developing me as a leader. This program has allowed me to feel valued as a member, a neurologist, an educator, and as a person. My involvement with the AAN has helped me find wellness and inspiration in many of the things I have done (and will do) professionally. The program has been instrumental in my career, and I hope it continues. I am thankful that I have had such support from the AAN and that the AAN is invested in diversity and inclusion.  

17 Gatson

Na Tosha Gatson, MD, PhD
Geisinger Neuroscience Institute
2015 Diversity Leadership Program

I have enjoyed great new heights since graduating from the program and feeling more and more encouraged these days about my career trajectory! While I never doubted my own value, I worried that my vision might be larger than my personal capacity to make a difference in patient care, trainee education, and research both at my new institution and within the field. However, since participating I have enjoyed a variety of rewarding career advancement opportunities and have gone on to support diversity efforts at the AAN, as well as lead diversity initiatives at my institution. I have been appointed as co-chair and charter member of the Black Outreach and Leadership Development Employee Resource Group which has been very well received.


The Diversity Leadership Program is supported by Allergan, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, and Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 

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