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Acad Med. 2019 Mar 12. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002707. [Epub ahead of print]

Strengthening Public Health Leadership in Africa: An Innovative Fellowship Program.

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A.M. Kimball is senior consulting fellow, and director, pilot phase, Fellows Program, Chatham House, London, United Kingdom, and professor emerita, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, Washington. D. Harper is senior consulting fellow, Chatham House, and honorary professor, London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, London, United Kingdom, and honorary professor, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom. K. Creamer is former program manager, Chatham House, London, United Kingdom. A. Adeyemi is assistant director, Fellows Program, Chatham House, London, United Kingdom. R. Yates is programme director, Universal Health Care Policy Forum, Chatham House, London, United Kingdom. L. Lillywhite is senior consulting fellow, Chatham House, London, United Kingdom; ORCID: M. Told is executive director, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland. D.L. Heymann is director, the Centre on Global Health Security and director, African Fellows Programme, Chatham House, and professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.



The Ebola Virus Disease crisis in West Africa revealed critical weaknesses in health policy and systems in the region, including the poor development and retention of policy leaders able to set sound policy to improve health. Innovative models for enhancing the capabilities of emerging leaders while retaining their talent in their countries are vital.


Chatham House (London, United Kingdom) established the West African Global Health Leaders Fellowship to help develop a next generation of public health leaders in West Africa. The innovative program took a unique approach: six weeks of intensive practical leadership and policy training in London and Geneva bookended a 10-month policy project conceived and carried out by each fellow in their home country. The program emphasized practice, site visits and observation of UK public health organizations, identifying resources, and networking. Strong mentorship throughout the fieldwork was a central focus. Work on the pilot phase began in June 2016, and the fellows completed their program in September 2017.


The pilot phase of the fellowship was successful, demonstrating that this "sandwich" model for fellowships-whereby participants receive focused leadership training at the start and end of the program, minimally disrupting their lives in-country-offers exciting possibilities for enhancing leadership skills while retaining talent within Africa.


Based on this successful pilot, a second cohort of eight fellows began the program in October 2018. The expanded African Public Health Leaders Fellowship has become a central activity of the Centre for Global Health Security at Chatham House.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

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