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Making a Long-Term Impact with Integrated Projects

Each year, scholars in NWCPHP's Public Health Management Certificate program complete an individual integrated project. For 2012–13 scholar Kimberly Link, her project is continuing to make an impact on her organization.
Making a Long-Term Impact with Integrated Projects

2012–13 Public Health Management Certificate scholar Kimberly Link

Each year, scholars in NWCPHP's Public Health Management Certificate program complete an individual integrated project. For 2012–13 scholar Kimberly Link, her project is continuing to make an impact on her organization.

May 27, 2015

One of the most beneficial components of NWCPHP’s Public Health Management Certificate program is the individual integrated project. In addition to coursework, scholars in the program choose projects at their own organizations to work on throughout the year. Collaborating with classmates and coaches, they get the opportunity to apply the lessons learned in class to real situations at their workplace.

These integrated projects have an immediate benefit for scholars’ organizations, and some also have a long-term impact. For Program Manager Kimberly Link (2012–13 cohort), her integrated project is still helping to improve program quality at her organization, Idaho’s Central District Health Department.

For her project, Link designed and implemented an evaluation of her department’s work in communicable disease control. Using the CDC’s Framework for Program Evaluation, Link gathered information about her organization’s impact on the community, use of data, and work with contract agencies.

In the years since Link completed the Public Health Management Certificate program, “aspects of the evaluation have continued through multiple smaller projects.” The practice of collecting surveillance data for key illnesses has become an ongoing part of department operations; evaluation of information reach is contributing to a website redesign; and data about the impact of contract organizations have helped the department secure additional funding to expand contract work.

Rob Howarth, the Central District’s Division Director for Community and Environmental Health, agrees that Link’s integrated project has made a valuable contribution to the department. “Kim’s project made her stand out in our agency as a champion of data-supported decisions,” he said. “She has applied her experience in the Public Health Management Certificate program towards improving our strategic plan by promoting a cleaner format and inclusion of meaningful and measurable objectives. She has also become a leader, developing better ways to analyze and display progress of our strategic goals and objectives.”

What made the integrated project so valuable? “The faculty were an excellent resource,” Link said. “[Coach] Carl Osaki’s mentorship was vital. I appreciated that Carl was not shy about asking difficult questions, and he provided first-hand knowledge and insight that was very helpful in the development of my evaluation plan.”

Coaching is another important aspect of the Public Health Management Certificate program. Each scholar receives project feedback throughout the year from a seasoned leadership professional.

Furthermore, Link adds, the impact of her integrated project has gone beyond the specific accomplishments of the communicable disease control program evaluation. “I feel that the evaluation process challenged me to think differently about processes, ask better questions, and focus on measurable results,” she said.

The Public Health Management Certificate program is currently accepting applications for the 2015–16 cohort year. Discounts are available for organizations that send a group of three or more people. For more information, contact Janell Blackmer, Program Coordinator.

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