The American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) is now the American Association for Physician Leadership®.

In response to the rapidly evolving health care industry and growing recognition that physician leadership is essential to the successful transformation of health care, the new association is leveraging ACPE’s 40-year legacy of superior physician leadership education and management training.

All physicians, at some level, are considered leaders and society still expects them to become leaders. The organization’s new identity better reflects the significant role the association will continue to play in helping physicians from all backgrounds and in all types of positions realize their leadership potential.

By broadening the scope of programs, products and services, the association strives to more fully support the physician workforce across the entire career span, from medical students to those in later career stages. This also includes physicians in clinical roles, nonclinical administrative roles and those on nontraditional physician career paths.

With professionally trained and highly skilled physician leaders helping to guide organizations, health care for patients will be further improved and organizations of all types can potentially benefit with more efficient, streamlined high-quality systems of care.

Quality improvement through leadership

Evidence showing how physician leadership is vital to the future of health care continues to grow. Improvements in quality of 25 to 30 percent have been demonstrated with physician-led organizations. In the 2014 U.S. News & World Report rankings, five of the top six hospitals are led by physicians, and 10 of the 17 top-ranked are physician-led. In addition, U.S. Medicare data show that 21 of the 29 pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that saved enough to generate bonuses were physician-led.

“The American Association for Physician Leadership® is the only professional association and community solely dedicated to developing, nurturing and supporting physician leaders to create transformative solutions for our fast-paced health care system,” said Peter Angood MD, FRCS(C), FACS, MCCM. president and CEO of the association. “While there are many important health care professionals with strong leadership capabilities with whom we will continue to work, physicians are often viewed as the most effective leaders in determining and affecting better health care outcomes because of the inherent nature of patient-physician relationships.”

With this new identity comes an expanded mission

The organization has moved well beyond its history as a focused education provider and now serves as a highly regarded resource not only for physicians in a variety of professional roles, but also for health care organizations and systems, cross-functional health care teams, public policy makers and the overall population of patients. Changing the name from a “college” to an “association” better reflects the expanded scope of leadership programs, products and services that the organization offers.

It’s not the first time the organization has changed its name to better serve the industry. It began in the mid-1970s as the American Academy of Medical Directors. Then, soon after the term “physician executive” was coined, the organization became the American College of Physician Executives.

We thank previous CEOs, dedicated ACPE board members, exceptional faculty and the many staff members who contributed to the early success and growth of the organization. Without those efforts, the organization would not be in the position it’s in today — poised to build from the past and accelerate into the future.

The name change and program expansion come after more than a year of extensive independent research and robust inputs from physicians throughout the country. The results showed that while nearly all physicians consider themselves to be leaders, they did not necessarily consider themselves to be executives. This information built upon the intense level of change that has been under way with the organization for the past two years.

“We were pleased to reaffirm that our organization is well-positioned for the marketplace, and I believe our research clearly shows this fresh approach will help consolidate us even further,” said Mark Werner, MD, CPE, FACPE, chair of the board of directors. “We are highly confident the diversification strategy is the right step to help our organization reach its next level of development as we continue building its core strengths.”

Our strategic plan, in a nutshell

The association’s focus better encompasses the four pillars of its strategic plan:


Providing superior leadership education.


Offering lifelong career support for physicians.


Developing a strong community of physicians who collectively provide significantly important thought leadership.


Expanding the organization’s influence among health care organizations and through health care policy.

It also positions the association to build on its extensive international membership and further contribute to the global community.

Expanded offerings

Examples of the many expanded programs, products and services include:

More than a dozen new courses developed and existing courses updated to ensure the association is meeting the real-world educational needs of physicians in all stages of their careers. Several new certificate programs are included in the expanded offerings.

A completely redesigned website ( that contains highly relevant content and a smoother interface that improves the educational experience. The website serves as a valuable resource for the physician community as well as the entire health care industry.

The only customized physician-oriented career assessment tool available in the market. An expanded network of executive coaching opportunities and a mentor matching program are offered to help physicians achieve their leadership potential so they can positively impact patient health in their own organizations and health care as a whole.

Collaborations and partnerships are being formed with numerous other physician and health care-related organizations to optimize contributions that can then improve global efforts for better health care. An expanded community of knowledgeable physicians with leadership education is a powerful resource.

The association has gradually begun to participate in the health policy process by attending legislative hearings, issuing public comments, monitoring government agencies and ensuring a balanced physician leadership voice oriented to improving health care is heard in Washington.

There has never been a greater demand for physician leadership. The American Association for Physician Leadership® recognizes that all physicians have the innate ability to lead and drive improvements within health care. The association’s aim is to help physicians build upon those skills and help prepare health care organizations and our patients for a better future.
American Association for Physician Leadership®: Inspiring Change. Together.  

Frequently Asked Questions

question-iconHow will the name change affect membership?

answer-iconThe name change will have absolutely no impact on membership. The more than 11,000 members of the American College of Physician Executives automatically become members of the American Association for Physician Leadership®. A new membership certificate will be mailed to all members shortly. Members will continue to enjoy all the member benefits offered by ACPE and get to take advantage of the expanded programs, products and services within the American Association for Physician Leadership®.

question-iconHow will the rebranding affect the Certified Physician Executive (CPE) designation?

answer-iconThe rebranding will have no effect on the CPE. The CPE is granted by an affiliate of the association, the Certifying Commission of Medical Management (CCMM), and no changes are being made to the CCMM. CCMM will continue to promote more than 2,000 existing CPEs and will continue to grant the CPE to those who complete the CPE program.

question-iconHow does the change affect fellowship in ACPE (FACPE)?

answer-iconThose members who were awarded fellowship and/or distinguished fellowship in ACPE continue on as fellows and may continue to use the FACPE designation. A committee of the  association’s board is examining the future of fellowship within the association and will be outlining its plans in the near future.