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J Health Adm Educ. 1997 Spring;15(2):87-100.

Developing leaders in public health: the role of executive training programs.

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University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599, USA.


The growing complexity of the nation's health care system is creating new challenges and opportunities for public health officials, and a renewed concern for leadership training among these officials. A focus group conducted with public health officials at local, state, and national levels reveals perceptions about the predominant trends effecting public health practice, the leadership skills required for effective public health practice, and the strategies that are needed for providing appropriate leadership training to public health executives. Officials indicate that public health practice is undergoing substantial changes in response to the growth of managed care and integrated delivery systems, changes in public health funding sources and levels, and efforts to privatize the delivery of public health services. The skills identified as critical for effective leadership in this environment include the ability to guide organizational behavior and cultivate interorganizational relationships; apply scientific knowledge to public health problems, and build and sustain community coalitions. In light of these skills, public health officials identify four essential components of an optimally effective executive training program in public health leadership: exposure to the core scientific disciplines within public health; exposure to organization theory and management science; training in community development and empowerment; and training in ethics and social justice. All of the officials agree with the need for distance learning programs for executives in public health leadership, and most officials also support the need for doctoral-level training in public health practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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