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The Facilitation Impact Awards (FIA) honours organisations that have used facilitation to achieve a measurable and positive impact as well as the facilitator(s) who worked with them. More about FIA
Gold award
Healthcare Leadership Academy, Saudi Commission for Health Specialities (SCHS)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Developing facilitators for healthcare transformation


A total of 22 healthcare leaders successfully completed the 18 month facilitator development program. Participants reported that collectively they facilitated about 70 projects in the healthcare ecosystem.

As a result of the deep learning and applying their skills, 73% of participants indicated they are confident in applying the IAF Core Competencies A to F. They also received positive feedback from their clients on how the facilitated sessions were effective in increasing engagement, dialogue and to achieve the organization goals.

There was also high motivation among the cohort in furthering their journey as facilitators as 83% expressed interest in becoming an IAF EndorsedTM Facilitator or IAF CertifiedTM Professional Facilitator.

By way of example of the results achieved, two projects facilitated by program participants are as follows.

Pathway for early lung cancer detection

Dr. Manal Alnaimi and Dr. Mona Alfaraidy brought together a team of 25 key healthcare stakeholders across different disciplines (including project managers and nursing supervisors from primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare) to collaborate and co-create a pathway for early lung cancer detection. The pathway was developed over 3 successfully facilitated online sessions and has created substantial impact, including:

  • accelerated provision of definitive care for lung cancer patients, reducing it from 2 months to 28 days (which is the standard of practice in North America)
  • increased efficiency by 80% in the whole process
  • outcome led to 100% of lung care patients being referred through this pathway
  • several months of potential meetings were reduced to 3 facilitated meetings saving invaluable resources
  • improved a community of practice and networking by integrating a relational approach –previously there was little trust.

Feedback from session participants included:

“I started with a closed mind to any possible solutions, then as the workshop went on, I felt we were able to find solutions as a group."

“New way of meeting, felt my ideas were expressed and was able to understand better other colleagues’ perspective."

“We did a lot of work, in a short period of time, I like the online set up (Mural) and display."

Improve a primary care process

Dr. Mufareh Al-katheri and Ahmad Alani, co-facilitated a multi-hour session as part of the Enable project learning requirements. The purpose of this session was to improve a primary care process in Dr. Al-katheri’s hospital. This session was subsequently followed-up with weekly facilitated sessions to ensure successful implementation. The project was called, Communicating Critical Lab Values (CLV) for Primary Care Patients. The results and impact were:

  • all hospital leadership (medical services/IT) reached 100% agreement to implement a new automated CLV workflow with a shorter communication timeframe
  • IT, quality lab specialists and supervisory representatives met to discuss implementation issues
  • the impact of communicating CLV in a shorter time frame is critical to patient safety, hospital reputation and reducing workload – data is currently being collected to evaluate success.

Context and challenges

The Healthcare Leadership Academy is part of the Saudi Commission for Healthcare Specialities (SCFHS). SCFHS’s vision is a healthy community through competent healthcare providers based on best standards. Its mission is the protection and promotion of health led by compassionate and competent practitioners.

In 2016 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) launched its Vision 2030, an ambitious country-wide initiative focused on creating a vibrant society and a thriving economy. One of the key areas of this initiative included healthcare transformation to be directed through the Ministry of Health (MOH). As part of the MOH, the Commission established the Healthcare Leadership Academy to equip current and emerging leaders with the managerial and leadership skills required to support the transformation. To do this, the Healthcare Leadership Academy created the ENABLE Program for Healthcare Leaders, which focused on development of process facilitation skills.

Part of the approach to healthcare transformation was to build its internal capacity for local facilitators (while also reducing dependence on foreign consultants) by equipping existing and emerging healthcare leaders with the skills needed to carry out its ambitious mandate.

When the Healthcare Leadership Academy (the client) approached North Star Facilitators in 2018 to provide an intensive 18-month process facilitation training for its first cohort of 25 healthcare leaders, process facilitation was relatively unknown across the Kingdom. The Healthcare Academy’s chosen leaders in the Enable program had to pioneer the transformation.

Six months after the program launched, the onset of COVID-19 created multiple unique challenges. These included a pivot to an entirely online program, working across multiple time zones, adapting to new and developing technology platforms, accessibility and bandwidth issues, and varying levels of technology skills.

Project objectives

The objectives were:

  1. (Primary) To build the internal capacity of process facilitation skills among healthcare leaders to ENABLE Healthcare Transformation.
  2. (Secondary) To enable effective dialogue and communication among stakeholders to create a health system that is accessible and patient centric.


Our joint approach in developing facilitators consisted of four key areas:

  1. Experience & Learn: Participants experience and learn facilitation skills (face-to-face) in a progressive manner (from fundamentals to advanced skills) through sessions that are done as facilitated sessions (not like typical training).
  2. Enhance: Monthly virtual facilitation sessions to enhance participants’ facilitation skill sets.
  3. Practice: Participants put into practice what they learned through real life “Action Learning” Projects. Each participant had to facilitate 2 to 4 in-person or virtual facilitated sessions with real clients and stakeholders in the healthcare system.
  4. Apply: All participants were assigned mentors who journeyed, supported and gave feedback to them to accelerate their facilitation mastery.

The combination of learning and opportunities to apply their skills strengthened participants’ ability to have a significant impact on their respective organization and departments. 

North Star Facilitators team
Andrew Lee, Barbara MacKay CPF | M, Eric Tseng, Farah Ismail CPF, Grace Tan CPF, Ian McDonell, Loh Teck Kwang CPF, Lyn Wong CPF, Mireille Beumer, Rainbow Chow CPF, Rangineh Azimzadeh Tosang CPF, Robin Parsons CPF and Wang Zheng CPF.

Healthcare Leadership Academy ENABLE facilitators
Abdullah Alsharif, Ahmad Alani, Abdullah Almarshed, Shadi AlMoziny, Dalal Nemenqani, Zaher Ibrahim, Abdulla Alkhashan, Azad Godus, Aref Almubarak, Afnan Alwohaibi, Najwa Alghamdi, Mohamed Almansour, Mona Alfaraidy, Manal AlNaimi, Suzan Rashed, Ahmed Hawsawi, Ismail Bakhsh, Mohammed Alrasi, Tahani Almugbel, Mohammad Alsinan, Hanouf Bin Hamid and Mufareh AL-katheri.

Face-to-face session in Saudi Arabia.

Virtual facilitation session. 

Miro output of facilitated session to help ENABLE facilitators apply process facilitation in healthcare transformation and different aspects of their work.

Designing a retreat to increase awareness and knowledge of employees around person-centred care facilitated by Dr. Ahmed Hawsawi.

Action Learning Projects where ENABLE facilitators (Dr. Dalal Nemenqani, Dr. Abdullah Alshariff and Dr. Azad Godus) were working with College of Dentistry, Taif University.