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Culture Book | The ALiEM Experience2017-11-08T16:44:29+00:00

Our Culture Book: The ALiEM Experience

Although the ALiEM organization has grown in size and scope, our team maintains the consistent “secret sauce” culture that keeps us all engaged and invested in advancing health professions education outside of our “day jobs”. Modeled after the Zappos Culture Book, below are excerpts and insights from our team members.

Nikita Joshi, MD (Stanford University)

ALiEM has an incredible, flat and open culture. Everyone aspires to work on teams with incredible people, who are creative, hard working, and academically productive. But it is almost impossible to find this! We have an almost non-existent hierarchy system which honors all team members for their insights and contributions. This has allowed us to be defined by our nimbleness and laser-like focus upon high impact creations to assess needs within medical education.

Jeff Riddell, MD (University of Southern California)

The ALiEM Team exists in a culture of safety that stems from the multiplier-leadership of Dr. Michelle Lin. Team members can take risks and be vulnerable because our cultural norms foster a spirit of encouragement, iteration, and inclusivity. Individual egos fall to the wayside as we realize that our work together is much more personally meaningful and educationally impactful than anything we could have done on our own. The Team is dependable, creative, selfless, accomplished, thoughtful, and diverse – comprised mostly of women, which I’ve learned is a key to high performing teams.

Teresa Chan, MD MHPE (McMaster University)

ALiEM is a team that pushes its team to do amazing things. No idea is too big or grand… and everyone gets behind each idea to make it the best it could be. There is almost no resistance to new ideas or change – something that is rare, indeed. This “can-do” attitude allows us to be confidently innovative and creative.

The team is also asynchronously available AND highly responsive digitally. Since we do not actually all engage in the same physical space, the online platforms where we communicate are our “home base”, so we are always in sync even if we are hundreds of miles apart.

Bryan Hayes, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital)

ALiEM is all-inclusive of diverse, multi-disciplinary backgrounds in every facet. From the occasional guest blogger all the way to series leads and core team members, there is representation of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, social workers, students, and more.


Michelle Lin, MD (UC San Francisco)

I have been a part of many amazing teams in my career, but this ALiEM team is by far my favorite. Even though we don’t physically see each other every day, we are on Slack chatting almost every day. The ALiEM culture allows me to have a growth mindset and transparent approach to collaboration. I feel an inherent closeness to each and everyone. I have learned that when you put together a diverse group of dedicated, talented, creative individuals, magic happens. A team that innovates together, stays together!

Adaira Chou, MD (Brigham and Women’s Hospital)

ALiEM provides an opportunity to indulge in education and innovation. There are no boundaries here when it comes to collaboration, creativity, and productivity. ALiEM has a friendly culture that allows us to brainstorm and construct projects, while embracing a critical process of iteration– a rare combination for a group to have, but it inspires us all to improve our mission. I’ve never been so honored to be part of a forward-thinking team.

Michael Gisondi, MD (Stanford University)

ALiEM is simply… different. Our team has a growth mindset that measures success in non-traditional ways. We celebrate a remarkably consistent output of exceptionally high-quality educational products, with minimal overhead and resources. How? A distributed network of professionals devote countless hours of talent in support of a visionary leader, Dr. Michelle Lin. We give and take the best of one another, growing as individuals and members of our own unique academic community — one that has never been realized before. I like being… different.

Nicole Battaglioli, MD (Mayo Clinic Health System)

ALiEM has been, hands down, the best group of disruptive innovators I have ever worked with. It is a group that is accepting of new ideas and new people without prejudice or the constraints of hierarchy. Despite being a large team we are able to collaborate at a high level and remain nimble. Because of this we accomplish more, faster!

Jeffrey Shih, MD, RDMS (University of Toronto)

The ALiEM team is a truly innovative group of highly engaged healthcare professionals who work passionately to accomplish the goals of a unified vision. Dr. Michelle Lin’s leadership, inspiration, and clear vision of what ALiEM “is” has fostered a team of extremely productive, motivated, and remarkably innovative professionals.

A peek into our Slack group reveals a culture that nurtures a creative and forward-thinking environment. The ALiEM culture encourages a constant flow of fresh and novel ideas, which are met (almost instantaneously!) with genuine support and encouragement from the Team.

Fareen Zaver, MD (University of Calgary)

ALiEM is the most inclusive, dedicated, brilliant, kind and supportive group of people I have ever met. Irregardless of how famous they are, how much of a powerhouse each individual member is, on the team you are all playing on the same page. No idea is not good enough to reach the table for discussion and brain-storming. Everyone supports each other, offers their help and expertise in whatever project is on-going and pushes you to build a new skill set with every initiative or project you take on. To never be stagnant, to always push yourself and the team for more growth is the best lesson I could have ever asked for.