Can training create better public health leaders?

July 25, 2017 | Press Releases & Announcements

Headshot of Dr. Ghada Soliman

Dr. Ghada Soliman

Dr. Ghada Soliman, along with colleagues, co-authored a paper entitled “A Retrospective Evaluation to Determine the Effectiveness of Public Health Leadership Institutes,” published in The Journal of Leadership Studies. The study focused on the importance of public health leadership education and used retrospective evaluation to determine the effectiveness of such programs.

The original training programs created to develop public health leaders were National and Regional Public Health Leadership Institutes (PHLIs), with the original being founded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1991. Currently, there are several state-based, regional, and national PHLIs. This study included participants from five PHLIs including the Great Plains, Northeast, Kentucky, CDC Environmental PHLI, and Missouri PHLI.

The respondents identified as emerging (37%), mid-level leaders (41%), or senior leaders (22%) and the response rate was 40%.  The Kirkpatrick Model was used to evaluate past participants’ reaction; improved skills; changes in behavior as evidenced by applying the improved skills; and impact on the workplace and community. The study utilized a leadership rubric developed by Brandon Grimm, first author on the study, that comprised six leadership domains with specified skills within each domain. The leadership domains included community/organization responses, ability to inspire, results-focused, social intellect, authenticity, composure and balance.

The results demonstrated that majority of participants showed skill improvement, instilled or changed behavior, and moderate use of leadership skills across the six domains. The findings support the notion that leadership training is effective in training leaders in public health practice.

Dr. Soliman explains, “The significance of this work is that training that promote collaborative leadership, work-based learning, and networking is key to effective public health practice. Future research to determine outcome-based results from public health leadership training is warranted.”


Grimm, B. L., Tibbits, M. K., Soliman, G. A. and Siahpush, M. (2017), A Retrospective Evaluation to Determine the Effectiveness of Public Health Leadership Institutes. J Ldrship Studies, 11: 6–19. doi:10.1002/jls.21500