Women's Leadership Development Program

Women's Leadership Development Program

“I love this. In medical school, I never had a space to share this kind of openness and experience.”
Megan Furnari, M.D., Instructor of Pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine; WLDP co-founder


Affirm, empower, and engage the full potential of woman-identified physicians, to support their professional development through community building, leadership skill development, mentoring, and wellness training.

The Women's Leadership Development Program (WLDP) began in 2015 as a group of inspired medical students (Kelsey Priest and Angela Steichen) and Dr. Megan Furnari from the Department of Pediatrics with the goals to increase the leadership capacity, participation, and future success of women physician trainees at OHSU. Due to high levels of interest in the medical student community, it quickly evolved into a formal curriculum and launched in 2016 accepting 30 participants. In 2017, it doubled in size and includes members from all four class years with plans to grow further in the coming years. Dr. Elizabeth Lahti (Internal Medicine Hospitalist) joined Dr. Furnari on the leadership team as co-faculty in 2017, providing her expertise in narrative medicine and reflection, her area of focus in the school of medicine and at OHSU.

WLDP consists of monthly interactive lectures taught by expert women leaders from the OHSU faculty.
The curriculum focuses on critical conversations empowering trainees to become current and future leaders in healthcare. There are four core areas:

  • Leadership skill development
  • Community building
  • Mentorship
  • Wellness training


The program is thriving! 

Accomplishments include:

  • Financial support and grants from the Oregon Medical Association, Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland, the OHSU School of Medicine Dean's Office & Bacon Grant, American Medical Women's Association Scholarships
  • Presentations at the American Medical Women's Association Annual Conference 2017 (3rd place win in student poster competition), American Medical Association Education Innovation Conference 2017 workshop presentation, Oregon Medical Association Annual Conference 2017 workshop presentation, Association of American Medical Colleges annual western states meeting 2018 workshop presentation and poster
  • Multiple WLDP women becoming leaders in the School of Medicine and beyond, including: vice president of student government, co-chair of a clinic to support health and social services for the under-served in Portland, student health advisory committee president addressing mental health needs of medical students, AMWA student chapter president and the majority of the leadership team, Institute for Healthcare Improvement co-president and IHI Change Agent of the Year Award Recipient.


Drs. Furnari and Lahti

Faculty Director

Megan Furnari, M.D.
Instructor of Pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine


Elizabeth Lahti, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, OHSU School of Medicine

Co-founding members

Kelsey Priest, M.P.H., M.D./Ph.D. Candidate

Alexandra Pincus, M.D./Ph.D. Candidate

Angela Steichen, M.D. Class of 2018

In the news

Women wanting to lead in medicine can start when they're students (AMA, August 31, 2017)

Medical students recognized for research at national conference (School of Medicine, OHSU, April 12, 2017)

Unfurling community to create change (School of Medicine, OHSU, November 3, 2017) 

Transforming the next generation of physician leaders (StudentSpeak, OHSU, April 3, 2018)