Public Health Leadership Institute

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The CDC/UC Public Health Leadership Institute (PHLI) Scholars Program is a national, year-long leadership development program for senior local, state, and federal public health officials and leaders from public health academia, the health systems, and national health organizations. It was begun in 1991 with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is administered through a grant to the University of California at Los Angeles, and managed by the Public Health Institute. As of 2001, there were also 13 state or regional institutes, covering 31 states altogether. The CDC began this Institute in response to the nation's need for enhanced leadership in public health. The climate of change in public health requires the individuals who direct U.S. public health organizations not only to be good managers but also good leaders. PHLI scholars learn how to meet public health challenges and shape the future of public health by focusing on these key areas: personal growth for leadership excellence, leading organizational change, community building and collaborative leadership, and communication skills. Throughout the year, scholars participate in teleconferences, readings, electronic seminars, learning teams, an intensive onsite program, and an applied leadership initiative. They also gain support and learn from each other. The Institute's emphasis on distance learning permits scholars to continue working full-time. As of 1999, the Institute had graduated 444 scholars from across the United States. After graduating, they can join the Public Health Leadership Society (PHLS), the PHLI alumni association. As PHLS members, they continue their development as leaders through a variety of educational and networking activities.

Carol Woltring

Liz Schwartz

(see also: Careers in Public Health; Community Organization; Leadership )


Fox, D.; Novick, L.; and Woltring, C. (1997). Public Health Leaders Tell Their Stories. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishing.

Scutchfield, D.; Spain, C. et al. (1995). "The Public Health Leadership Institute: Leadership Training for Local and State Health Officers." Journal for Public Health Policy 16(3):304.

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Public Health Leadership Institute

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