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BACKGROUND: Leadership is increasingly being recognised as an essential requirement for doctors. Many medical schools are in the process of developing formal leadership training programmes, but it remains to be elucidated what characteristics make such programmes effective, and to what extent current programmes are effective, beyond merely positive learner reactions. This review's objective was to investigate the effectiveness of undergraduate medical leadership curricula and to explore common features of effective curricula. METHODS: A systematic literature search was conducted. Articles describing and evaluating undergraduate medical leadership curricula were included. Outcomes were stratified and analysed according to a modified Kirkpatrick's model for evaluating educational outcomes. RESULTS: Eleven studies met inclusion criteria. Leadership curricula evaluated were markedly heterogeneous in their duration and composition. The majority of studies utilised pre- and post- intervention questionnaires for evaluation. Two studies described randomised controlled trials with objective measures. Outcomes were broadly positive. Only one study reported neutral outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: A wide range of leadership curricula have shown subjective effectiveness, including short interventions. There is limited objective evidence however, and few studies have measured effectiveness at the system and patient levels. Further research is needed investigating objective and downstream outcomes, and use of standard frameworks for evaluation will facilitate effective comparison of initiatives.


Journal article


N Z Med J

Publication Date





75 - 84


Curriculum, Education, Medical, Educational Measurement, Humans, Leadership, Students, Medical