Governance Fellowship

“The MHA Excellence In Governance Fellowship has given my board members an experience like no other.”

– Sponsoring organization CEO

“The MHA Excellence In Governance Fellowship sets the benchmark for contemporary and practical governance education. Board members that graduate from the program make tremendous contributions to governance in our organization and our community mission has been advanced.”

– Sponsoring organization CEO

“It was very important for me to build a network, learn best practices and gain skills to make me a better board member. It’s truly a great opportunity for a hospital to build the ‘dream team’ they want for their board.”

– Graduate Fellow

Who Becomes a Fellow?

Fellows come from the governing boards of hospitals, health systems and other healthcare organizations. A minimum of one year of board experience is required for consideration to become a fellow. Many organizations use the fellowship as a platform to educate board members who are advancing to the chairman role.

An Innovative Program for Healthcare Boards

Healthcare continues to undergo substantial transformation stimulating board structures, practices and focus areas to evolve with the changes. Post pandemic, the work of furthering the hospital or health system’s mission and leading it into the future is through a focus on diversity and inclusion, health equity, and financial and workforce challenges. Board members understand to guide and support these strategies, the board must transform how it functions.

Hospitals and health systems must invest in their board members to ensure the highest level of competencies to meet these challenges. An outstanding board member needs broad knowledge, strategic thinking and an ongoing commitment to leadership excellence.

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association designed this rigorous and comprehensive offering to provide educational opportunities in governance leadership through a powerful combination of expert faculty, specially designed curriculum and interaction. The MHA Excellence in Governance Fellowship is highly collaborative in nature, bringing fellows together in a variety of learning formats, including retreatlike interface, virtual communications and dialogue, and peer learning circles.

The MHA believes that the CEO and board member partnership is key to any successful healthcare organization. Because we are committed to fostering this partnership, CEOs of the selected fellows receive regular communication and information to support the fellow in his or her study.

“I have returned over and over again to the governance concepts learned in the Fellowship. In retrospect I would not have wanted to navigate some of the tough decisions I’ve encountered as a board member without the training I received in the program.”

– Graduate Fellow

The Organizational Value

  • Superior board capacity through the development of advanced governance knowledge and skills.
  • Board members with highly developed leadership skills.
  • Board members who know how to be relevant and engaged.
  • Board members who are ambassadors and champions for the organization and the chief executive.
  • Connected board members with a vast network of peers to help with challenging governance issues.
  • Board members who are thoughtful — not reactionary — and understand the roles and responsibilities of the board and the CEO.
  • Board members with broad competencies and a mission focus that translates into bottom-line results.

Individual Value

  • An exceptional experience that provides the skills and knowledge to advance the mission and vision of the organization beyond the ordinary.
  • An unparalleled opportunity to exchange ideas and explore challenges and solutions with trustees and healthcare experts.
  • An opportunity to study trends in governance and healthcare and their significance to hospitals and the community.
  • An understanding of pragmatic and practical ways to identify and implement board actions that enhance organizational effectiveness.
  • A network of governing board colleagues to call on when challenges arise.
  • Limited class size for maximum interaction, learning and peer-to-peer exchange.

Retreat 1

Today’s Landscape and Principles of Effective Governance

Examine the principles and themes a leadership team and board use to move from functioning to phenomenal. Fellows explore in-depth:

  • The role of the governing board member in establishing and affirming mission.
  • Financial, strategic and quality oversight, including accountability for both personal and organizational performance.
  • Board and management roles and how to provide oversight — not interference.
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic changed healthcare.
  • Building the commitment to addressing disparities and the financial, safety and quality risks for not doing so addressing disparities.
  • Providing access to needed healthcare services.
  • The negative margins plague hospitals and health systems resulting from labor expenses and shifting patient volumes.

Retreat 2

The Board’s Role in Quality and Patient Safety

Learn to develop the skills to adequately assess and analyze the quality of care and patient safety in the organization by establishing clear and dependable monitoring systems. Fellows will:

  • Examine leadership and appropriate systems to allow board members to measure and monitor quality and patient safety.
  • Determine the board’s role in assuring quality of care.
  • Learn how to keep the patient at the center of decisions.
  • Understand who measures what and why.
  • Explore the most up-to-date information on value-based purchasing, transparency and pay-for-performance.
  • Explore how to measure progress using dashboards.
  • Choose and use the appropriate indicators.
  • Examine how to use best practices in assessment and monitoring.

Retreat 3

Hospital and Medical Staff Strategic Partnerships

Explore and discover the importance of clinical leadership in safety, teamwork, continuous learning, and the value of partnership to the healthcare enterprise. Fellows will gain a better understanding of:

  • How consolidation, incentives for hospital-physician alignment and changing reimbursement are affecting hospital-physician relationships.
  • Legal considerations for physician employment, practice acquisition, joint ventures and other physician compensation models.
  • The interdependence of physician, executive and board leadership in improving health and patient experience and reducing health disparities.
  • How boards support high reliability, psychological safety, and other elements that are essential to establishing a safe culture.
  • How to create a framework to build resiliency and reduce burnout.

Retreat 4

Personal Mastery and Accelerating Change

Investigate, analyze and learn how to develop personal capacity to lead and drive change at a pace that keeps the organization relevant. Fellows will learn to:

  • Continuously build leadership muscle.
  • Explore the effects of disease, behavioral health and other indicators that are disrupting the industry and innovative solutions.
  • Evaluate strategies by weighing risks and rewards and the impact on the health and quality of life in their community.
  • Apply their new knowledge and skills to help create accountability, consistency and reliability.
  • Appreciate the importance of inquiry, influence and consensus building.
  • Build capacity of skilled, diverse professionals and cultivate resilience among caregivers who have struggled during the pandemic.

Bonus experiences:

  • Two days of cutting-edge education and top-level networking at the MHA Annual Membership Meeting.
  • Graduation of the MHA Excellence in Governance fellows!


The success and value of the MHA Excellence in Governance Fellowship is embodied in the committed and highly qualified faculty involved in the program. The fellowship uses expert faculty in the areas of healthcare delivery, governance, legal issues, quality and patient safety, and leadership.

Time Investment

Fellows are expected to invest the time and energy needed to complete all of the activities planned for the fellowship. This learning experience is designed so that significant peer-to-peer learning will occur. Therefore, fellows should plan to attend all in-person and virtual meetings throughout the fellowship. Homework assignments will require a small amount of additional time.

Team Incentives for Multiple Registrations and Repeat Supporters

Many hospitals use the fellowship to develop board members and, in particular, those moving into officer positions. We think that is a rousing endorsement! Multiple board members from the same organization are invited to apply to become fellows. Tuition is discounted for more than one board member enrolling from the same organization. Your organization wins both financially and through the ongoing development of skilled board members — that’s just one more solid reason to nominate board members for this outstanding program!


Governing board member from an MHA-member organization $7,200 per person
Two or more board members from the same MHA-member organization $6,00 per person

For organizations that are not members of the MHA, contact Erin Steward for fees.

Tuition covers the four in-person, all virtual sessions and the registration fee for the 2024 MHA Annual Membership Meeting (a $1,000 value). Individual travel, lodging and other related expenses are not included in
the tuition. Tuition is due no later than Sept. 1, 2023.

All cancellations and withdrawals must be submitted in writing. For cancellations and withdrawals on or before Aug. 4, 2023, tuition will be returned, less a processing fee of 25%. Alternates may be accepted following review.

In-person sessions will be held at the MHA headquarters, 2112 University Park Dr., Okemos, MI. If needed, hotel accommodations can be made at the Courtyard by Marriott Okemos, 3545 Meridian Crossing Drive, Okemos; or the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Okemos, 2350 Jolly Oak Rd., Okemos.

Retreat 1: Oct. 5-6, 2023

Retreat 2: Jan. 18, 2024

Retreat 3: April 18, 2024

Retreat 4: June 25-26, 2024

Fellowship concludes and graduation occurs during the 2024 MHA Annual Membership Meeting at the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island.

(Fellows meet June 25-26; MHA Annual Membership Meeting is June 26-29.)

MHA Excellence in Governance Fellowship Class 19 Fellows

James Adair, MD
MyMichigan Sault
MyMichigan Sault

Abed Asfour, MD
Premier Cardiovascular Specialists
BHSH, Beaumont Health

Lori Collins, PA-C
Envision Health
Chelsea Hospital

Edythe Copeland
Edythe Ann Enterprises
Sparrow Health System

Michael Flintoff
Gallagher, Flintoff & Klein, PLC
Sparrow Specialty Hospital

Leslie Grimmer
Huron Consulting
Trinity Health St. Mary Mercy Livonia

Monica Holmes
Michigan Medicine
Chelsea Hospital

Kevin Knaffla
JZ Environmental Consultants, Inc.
Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital

Paula Rechner, MD
MyMichigan Sault
MyMichigan Sault

Prakash Sarvepalli, CMD
Great Lakes Medical Associates
MyMichigan Medical Center Alma

Pamela Sexton
Old National Bank
Gift of Life Michigan

Lakeeya Tucker, DO
Alliance OB/GYN
Sparrow Health System

To nominate a board member for the fellowship, complete the application form. The complete brochure is available online, and those with questions may contact us.