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Leadership Institute Scholars Discuss Managing Changes and Challenges

At the second 2017 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute onsite session, with presenters such as Ron Sims and Laura Porter, scholars reflected on their leadership goals and built leadership skills to manage change and address sensitive issues.
Leadership Institute Scholars Discuss Managing Changes and Challenges

Scholars attend the Leadership Institute

At the second 2017 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute onsite session, with presenters such as Ron Sims and Laura Porter, scholars reflected on their leadership goals and built leadership skills to manage change and address sensitive issues.

August 10, 2017

At the 2017 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute second onsite session, participants built skills to manage change and communicate about sensitive issues in challenging times, and reflected on their leadership goals. The session included presentations, conversations, and problem-based learning activities.

Traveling to Seattle from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington for the three-day session, the cohort held a variety of public health roles, including epidemiologists, MCH program supervisors, community health workers, program directors, and health educators, from organizations including the Washington State Department of Health, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, and Public Health Foundation of Columbia County.

Scholars used problem-based learning (PBL) to practice public communication about a controversial topic: addressing opioid addiction through supervised consumption sites.

The 2017 institute includes two new components: alumni mentoring, and an individual leadership plan. Each scholar is matched to an institute graduate with similar interests to discuss leadership, career development, experiences in the institute, or other topics. For the individual leadership plan, scholars work with faculty member Kurt O’Brien and peer coaches to identify leadership goals, strengths, growth areas, and support needs.

Presentations during this onsite focused on critical issues, change management, and leadership skills.

Meredith Li-Vollmer, Risk Communication Specialist at Public Health – Seattle & King County, and Clinical Assistant Professor at the UW School of Public Health, presented on strategies for communication about controversial public health issues.

Laura Porter, co-founder of ACE Interface, addressed prevalence, prediction, and prevention of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), associated health issues, a strengths-focused approach to ACEs, and the work of communities, including Cowlitz County, WA, where residents have addressed ACEs at a population level.

A panel on health equity and leadership explored the successes and challenges of addressing health inequities and achieving optimal population and individual health. Moderated by institute director Michelle Sarju, that panel included:

  • Sheila Capestany, Strategic Advisor for Children and Youth with King County’s Best Starts for Kids initiative
  • Candace Jackson, Educator Consultant at Public Health – Seattle & King County
  • Emma Medicine White Crow, Chair of Washington State’s Interagency Coordinating Council on Health Disparities;
  • Ka’imi Sinclair, Assistant Professor at the Initiative for Research, Education, and Advancing Community Health (IREACH) at Washington State University.

Other presenters and facilitators included:

  • UW POD instructor Diane Altman Dautoff, on building skills for resilience in the face of unexpected change
  • Institute faculty member Tao Kwan-Gett, on different styles of change management
  • Institute faculty member Kate Davies, on systems thinking
  • Institute faculty member Kurt O’Brien, on approaches to crucial conversations

Scholars also discussed how factors such as institutionalized racism and power can affect workplace conversations.

In preparation for November’s final onsite, scholars will connect and apply skills to leadership projects within their agencies, refine individual leadership plans, and complete another PBL case.

To encourage them, Institute Director Michelle Sarju reminded scholars, “Lead from wherever you are and however you’re comfortable. You are a leader no matter what your position or what your title is, and it’s up to you to step out into that and make a difference.”

 

Applications for the 2018 Leadership Institute will open in February, 2018. The program will also be looking for Leadership Institute alumni to fill mentor roles in the 2018 cohort. Contact Deborah Gardner for more information.

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