A 2004 survey sent to the public health workforce in Nebraska spoke loud and clear, “We need leadership development training in this state.” One look around, and it was clear; a growing number of states had access to either state- or regional-based public health leadership institutes. The workforce in Nebraska and two of its surrounding states—Iowa and South Dakota—did not have these same opportunities.
In response, the Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute (GPPHLI) was conceived in 2004 and launched in 2005 for senior and emerging leaders in organizations whose primary mission is to improve the health and well-being of populations and communities. Now in its 11th year, with 200 Alumni, the GPPHLI continues to grow and expand as a training experience, developing leaders who can tackle the toughest challenges ahead for public health.
Two areas have kept the Institute fresh and in demand over its decade-plus run: 1) scholar growth, and 2) curriculum enhancements.
Though the GPPHLI began by supporting leaders in three states (Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota), we now cover five states with the additions of Kansas and Missouri. Furthermore, we have seen steady increases in the number of scholars; for the most recent three years, cohorts have been full with 25 or more participants in each. And, we have seen new organizations and sectors (i.e. insurance companies) sending employees through our program, adding to the richness and complexity of discussions and learning.
GPPHLI curriculum has kept up—and ahead—of its time, assuring that the training meets not just a scholar’s current needs, but their future needs as well. Enhancements over the years of new personal assessments (The Leadership Circle 360 Profile), dynamic national speakers and presentations (SWITCH: How to Change When Change is Hard; Crucial Conversations), and curriculum design improvements (organization simulations) have all added to the scholar experience.
Most significantly, this past fall, a think tank of faculty, alumni, current scholars, public health workforce specialists, and leadership gurus came together to recalibrate the curriculum and expected outcomes of GPPHLI. The picture above gives a quick look at what our new curriculum—to be developed throughout the next year—will focus on. The College of Public Health could not be more excited about the future of the Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute!
Who might you send through to enhance their networks, their skill set, and their overall leadership capabilities?
Applications are available each spring by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Kathleen Brandert, Director of the Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute.