About PHLI

Public health is as complex, as important, and as challenging now as it ever has been. The Public Health Leadership Institute convenes the new leaders who together will confront the new challenges in public health.

PHLI Calendar
2010 applications due January 24, 2011
New class selected February 2011
Kick-off webinar March 2011 (on-line)
First on-site April 26-29, 2011, Rizzo Center, Chapel Hill, NC
Second on-site September 6-9, 2011, Rizzo Center, Chapel Hill, NC
Presentations & graduation September 2011 (on-line)

The goal: create new cadres of public health leaders who will help lead change in the public health system.

PHLI is a one-year leadership development program for high-potential leaders with a commitment to leading in their own organizations and communities, but also leading system change on the national scene.


Based on published competency sets, discussions with partners and funders, and our recent 17-year retrospective evaluation, we have developed a custom program with a curriculum that is evolving with the needs of the field.

Our theme is “New Partners, New Challenges.” That theme applies first to PHLI itself. The new program is being run by four key institutions in public health and leadership.

PHLI is designed to attract new partners from across the public health system: legislative leaders, media leaders, business leaders, leaders in and out of the government sector.

The program’s action learning design means PHLI scholars will work together on real challenges.  As a leader in public health you will add depth and richness to your network through PHLI.

“New Partners, New Challenges” also reflects the design of the PHLI curriculum around two central areas: leading people and leading system change.

Leading People:  Effective leaders inspire trust and confidence. In public health, that means leading people within organizations but also leading community improvement with diverse partners across sectors, across borders, across the country. In keeping with the “New Partners” theme, PHLI incorporates the following curricular areas: 

  • individual assessment and coaching
  • leading teams and collaborations
  • authentic leadership
  • effective networks
  • feeding the leadership pipeline

Leading System Change:  Leadership is ultimately measured by outcomes. The set of new challenges for public health leaders is diverse. This theme area represents investigations into the role of leadership in creating positive change that resonates from the local level to the national level.

  • systems thinking
  • leading change in organizations and communities
  • quality and performance
  • politics of change

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Program Design and Principles 

The new PHLI is designed to work on several levels to create strong individual leaders and link them to national system change:

Recruit high-potential leaders: Through nominations and open applications, the program seeks individual leaders with experience and interest in working at the national level on systems change.

Foster individual development: PHLI uses state-of-the-art assessment tools and individual coaching led by the internationally renowned Center for Creative Leadership, a non-profit research and training organization based in Greensboro NC. Authentic leadership begins with knowing yourself and charting the changes you will make to lead more effectively.

Build a network of committed leaders: Networking is more than an informal by-product of the program. We know from extensive evaluation that the network is a key way that PHLI contributes to system change, so network development is a formal part of the curriculum and an intentional focus of the program design.

Combine learning methods. Thenew PHLI uses a variety of teaching methods, from sessions with seminal thinkers (in and out of public health) to case study sessions, experiential learning, individual assessment tools, team-based action learning and reflection. With assistance from PHLS the program extends to web-assisted distance learning including webinars and a book club.

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