Managing in Turbulent Times: Emerging Leaders in Public Health

Core Development Activities

The ELPH core development activites are:


Individual Reflection On Leadership In Times Of Crisis Issues (Fireside Chats)

Each scholar will be expected to submit a series of written reflections as a reaction to each chat session. The goal is to explore meaning and application relevant to the scholar's development as a leader in public health. The reflection paper must include: 

  • Primary focus on self-reflection and development
  • Brief summary of key issues (one or two paragraphs at most)
  • Further insights from your own perspective/experience (be specific)


Individual Development Plan

The Individual Development Plan is a critical component of the Emerging Leaders program. It is your learning contract for the leadership skills you intend to build or strengthen during the year. In it, you will identify your specific learning goals and the activities you plan to engage in to meet these goals.

The work that you will do on your own during this year will provide you an opportunity to reinforce and test the ideas and skills discussed in the classroom setting. It will also allow you to target learning priorities unique to your interests and needs, your organizational setting, and your personal career plans. This emphasis on self-directed learning is formalized in the Team Case Study Project and in the other activities which you identify for yourself. The learning teams are intended to supplement and support your self-directed learning activities by helping you to clarify priorities, compare ideas, and gain peer feedback on projects and activities.

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Meta Skill Development

The ELPH program recognizes that future public health leaders require a variety of high-level skills that cut across a number of diverse areas of work in the field: leadership, problem framing and solving, working in teams, reflective and continuous learning, evaluation, and communication skills. The structure of the learning experiences during this program are designed to encourage development of these skills and ways to apply them in human resource management, managing communications, finances, and scenario analysis.

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Action Learning Teams

Action Learning Teams are composed of five to six current Emerging Leaders in Public Health scholars. The goal of the Action Learning Teams is to allow the participants an opportunity to grapple with important challenges and opportunities specific to the field of public health and the various crises faced by public health professionals. The participating scholars learn to apply analytical tools and formal knowledge to specific challenges associated with human resources, communications, or finances by focusing on a recent public health crisis and developing a case study. The learning that occurs from the Action Learning teams is viewed as more useful than traditional classroom learning because the experiences are grounded in actual organizational issues.

The case study generates a collaborative action learning environment so individuals can learn from each other and reflect on the ways in which they are applying newly acquired knowledge and skills to the problems and issues associated with their team project. In addition, participants are able to learn first-hand about the implementation challenges facing organizations, thus leading to improved management and leadership skills by the team members. A group coach is assigned to each Action Learning Team. The coach helps the teams balance their tasks, processes, and actions with reflection and learning.

Each team presents their case study to a panel of judges who will evaluate each project.

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Action Learning Case Study

View the 2008-2009 Winning Case Study, "Crisis in the Sky:  A Case Study in Communication at the CDC"

View the 2003-2004 Winning Case Study, "Palm Beach County Health Department Response to Anthrax Bioterrorism" 

View the 2005-2006 Winning Case Study, "The Silent Killer: The 1995 Chicago Heat Wave, A Social Disaster That Revealed the Health Disparities Divide"

View the 2007-2008 Winning Case Study, "E. coli Outbreak at the North Carolina State Fair: Is the Petting Zoo Fair at the Fair?"

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Action Learning/Peer Coaching Conference Call

Scholars will be grouped into teams of six for action learning/peer coaching conference calls. The goals are to develop skills in three areas: self-reflection of leadership skills, peer coaching, and peer networking. Ideally, these calls will support the Scholars' Individual Development Plans. Calls will be led by an experienced facilitator monthly for each group.

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Simulation Projects

The Action Learning Teams are provided with a simulation activity. The purpose of the simulation is to help stimulate critical thinking skills in communications during crisis situations. Each team is to develop a complete communications plan as if they were members of the community being described. The simulation projects will be evaluated by a group coach. He/she will read the communications plan and inform the team of what happens next in the community during this crisis based on the documented suggestions. The learning objectives are to:

  • Create a test of critical thinking and problem solving skills in crisis situations
  • Deal with multiple, successive crises
  • Be aware that decisions made have consequences

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