Managing in Turbulent Times: Emerging Leaders in Public Health

Enabling a Working Environment

In order to create an enabling work environment, several things must come into play. After all, management and leadership suffers when support systems don't function correctly. By the same token, support systems and health care workers certainly suffer when management and leadership are poorly trained and badly organized, and do not provide an organized and productive environment. In order to enable workers to have a productive work environment, there must be cohesiveness, and all sides must work together. This type of cohesiveness does not occur overnight of course, but it can be very exciting knowing that problems are being addressed and positive changes are coming.

One of the things that is very important is for support systems to have sensible reformation, and in doing so, they must keep a healthy balance between the needs of national health care concerns as well as local needs. The local leadership needs to use any information they can acquire at the local level to modify the current systems, and in doing so they need to emulate the current conditions of the community. Local priorities must be made just that- priorities. They cannot be tossed to the side due to a concentrated effort on centralized or streamlined health care reform. The 'little people' so to speak are really who make up the larger spectrum and their needs must be addressed for any sort of health care reform to be successful.

In order to create an enabling work environment, more work needs to be focused on synergy between all levels. While there must be some streamlining so that health care plans aren't different throughout a country in every town (individual support systems), the individual health care workers needs must be addressed. Reform shouldn't happen too quickly, but over time- because it's imperative that health care workers see that the system is continuing to get stronger, which instills more faith and hope, and probably creates an exciting and positive environment.

It comes down to district managers and facility managers determining what the priorities for change need to be, and them implement them on a prioritized basis. Clearly non life-threatning matters such as cosmetic surgery are not high priority).This will help motivate connections between health care entities that are needed, and of course it creates a more enabling work environment when positive change is on the rise.


The ELPH Program provided personalized leadership training that taught me how to be an authentic leader. It challenged me everyday to continue to sharpen and redefine my skill set, and to take a strategic approach in building my network. Overall, the ELPH program was excellent with dynamic and inspirational speakers that really made learning exciting.

Corey Palmer, BS, MS, MPH (2008)
Public Health Analyst, United States Public Health Service, Rockville, MD