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43 – Strengthening Public Health Leaders through Experiential Learning and Peer-to-Peer Support: International Program in Public Health Leadership (IPPHL)


Elizabeth Steen, International Program in Public Health Leadership, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, UW Seattle


The International Program in Public Health Leadership (IPPHL) at the Evans School and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation runs a 6-month, hybrid program for emerging leaders working in Ministries of Health across Africa. Since 2017, the program has trained 45 public health professionals on how to craft policy solutions to public health challenges, identify and activate stakeholders, and utilize management skills to drive sustainable improvement in public health systems.

Our model blends distance learning, in-person training, individual coaching, and peer connections to build a durable network of public health leaders who continue to engage and support each other long after the 6-month program has ended. The program relies on experiential, problem-based learning that is grounded in participants’ work and tailored to the unique challenges they face, culminating in an action-oriented policy plan which creates the template for on-going learning throughout implementation.

Leveraging a suite of technologies (Zoom, Canvas, WhatsApp) the program begins with 8 weeks of live online sessions designed to replicate an in-person classroom experience. Cohorts cultivate learning communities and establish group rapport before ever meeting in person. When participants meet for an intensive two-weeks at the Evans School, they are already familiar with their colleagues’ policy and management projects. After returning to work, they reconvene for a one-week capstone to discuss steps towards implementation and share lessons learned.

Evaluations from our first two years show statistically significant increases in participants’ change in and impact of leadership behavior as reported by themselves and their peers, supervisors, and subordinates. Alumni also report implementing policy solutions and tools and engaging their new professional peer network to address the policy and program implementation challenges they face.
This poster shares a unique, hybrid model of executive education rooted in sustained interaction through on-line and in-person curriculum, experiential learning and cohort-building.

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