Leading the way

J.D. Polk, DO, chief medical officer for NASA, to speak at LEAD 2019

Hear from Dr. Polk and other DO trailblazers at the Leadership, Education, Advocacy & Development conference, Jan. 24-25, near Las Vegas.


You don’t have to be a space junkie to reap the rewards of a keynote address by J.D. Polk, DO, NASA’s chief medical officer, at LEAD 2019. The AOA’s annual Leadership, Education, Advocacy & Development conference returns on Jan. 24-25 at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa in Henderson, Nevada.

The conference will also feature keynote speaker Omar Lateef, DO, chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center, which is redefining the role of hospitals to advance health equity in Chicago.

Early bird rate available

Registration is open and current and aspiring leaders throughout the osteopathic medical profession are encouraged to reserve their spot before the early bird rate ends on Dec. 1.

The LEAD conference will feature customizable learning tracks focused on career and leadership development, motivational keynotes and networking opportunities that allow professionals in osteopathic medicine to learn from one another. Participants may also earn up to 10 AOA Category 1-A CME credits. Here’s the draft conference agenda.

From Houston to Mars

Dr. Polk, a keynote speaker at the conference, was named chief health and medical officer of NASA in November 2016.

He is the former dean of Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM). Prior to that, Dr. Polk was the acting assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He also previously served as chief of space medicine for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Dr. Polk is a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians and the Aerospace Medicine Association. He is a graduate of A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

For more, read this interview in The DO about Dr. Polk’s NASA career and his work to ensure astronauts’ safety as NASA prepares for its first human journey to Mars.

Hospitals and health equity

Dr. Lateef, another keynote speaker at the conference, was named chief medical officer of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center in 2015. Dr. Lateef will be speaking about building a diverse hospital team to help drive health equity within communities.

Dr. Lateef has also served Rush University Medical Center as associate chief medical officer, senior vice chair of the department of medicine, associate dean of medical sciences in Rush Medical College, program director for the pulmonary and critical care fellowship program and director of the medical intensive care unit. He is a graduate of DMU-COM.

LEAD learning tracks

The LEAD conference offers specialized learning tracks, which include breakout sessions on:

  • Leadership development and succession planning
  • Battling physician burnout & advancing wellness
  • Engaging physicians in grassroots advocacy

Breakout sessions give individuals a chance to choose the topics that best meet their career and leadership development needs.

An early bird conference rate is available for those registering by Dec. 1. Find more information and register here.


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