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Emerging Leaders in Public Health meet in San Francisco

This week, 24 public health leaders meet in San Francisco as part of Kresge’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health (ELPH) initiative. During this convening, the leaders attended sessions designed to further develop the skills necessary to advance their work in their communities.

The Kresge Foundation developed the initiative to help equip local public health officers with knowledge and skills to lead in today’s changing health care environment.

“When we began this program, we asked ourselves, ‘Could we support a few individuals and provide them with resources to transform public health in their community?’” said Dr. Phyllis Meadows, senior fellow with Kresge’s Health Program. “We saw an opportunity to design a program where future leaders could work alongside a talented and innovative leader to learn and grow.”

The 16-month program provided 12 teams from local health departments the opportunity to undertake projects designed to enhance organizational and leadership competencies in business, planning and public health systems development.  

With nearly 30 years of experience in public health, the program inspired participant Donna Walsh to look at her work with a new perspective. “ELPH has opened my eyes to new ways of serving the community. I am inspired by my public health colleagues and the work they are doing across the nation,” she said.   

As the assistant health officer, Walsh collaborated with her colleague, Health Officer Swannie Jett, of the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County, to reorganize their department and establish a neighborhood-based model of public health practice to address the changing population demographics and health needs of their community. The project was supported by a $110,000 grant that Jett and Walsh received as part of ELPH.

“We are really proud of the work of all our ELPH leaders,” added Meadows. “I am confident that each of them will continue work that results in healthier populations and communities.”