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NWCPHP Brings Management Certificate to Montana

Public health scholars and NWCPHP faculty and staff kicked off the Montana edition of the Public Health Management Certificate with a week of learning in Missoula, Montana.

Public health scholars and NWCPHP faculty and staff kicked off the Montana edition of the Public Health Management Certificate with a week of learning in Missoula, Montana.

August 22, 2013

Last month, NWCPHP staff and faculty traveled to the University of Montana in Missoula to join 31 public health practitioners for an exciting week of learning. Held July 15–19, 2013, in conjunction with the Montana Public Health Summer Institute, the on-site session kicked off a very special Montana edition of the Public Health Management Certificate program.

Tailored specifically for state, local, and tribal supervisors and managers working in Montana, the twelve-month training program is the result of a contract between the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and NWCPHP.

The training helps meet the health department's public health accreditation efforts, including an integrated management workforce development system.

"The Public Health Management Certificate offers a great way to broadly train practitioners at a coordinated systems level," explains program coordinator Janell Blackmer. "We've enjoyed partnering with Montana DPHHS in their journey towards accreditation and efforts to better prepare their workforce for future community needs."

Based on the existing certificate program, the Montana certificate program develops comprehensive skills to enhance participant scholars' abilities to lead as collaborative managers and increase workplace efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability. Scholars gain practical skills in managing everything from people to money to information. Core courses and electives are taught through a series of online classes and webinars, with the exception of the initial on-site session.

In addition to coursework, participants work on an integrated workplace project of their choice. Management Certificate mentors provide guidance as the scholars integrate what they have been learning into their daily work.

"As a mentor I particularly enjoy watching as program participants, 'scholars' in the program, improve and refine abilities related to designing and implementing projects," says Management Certificate mentor, Bud Nicola, MD, MHSA, FACPM. "They start with a general idea but are quickly drawn to the specifics of program planning and understanding how their project will have an impact on the health of the population."

Since the program is primarily distance-based, the Public Health Management Certificate usually draws scholars from all across the United States. With such a specific geographic focus, this particular Montana cohort has already had unique opportunities for collaboration.

"In many cases, the scholars had previous experience working with each other in Montana which helped them understand the issues or problems being addressed in their classmates' projects," explains Management Certificate mentor, Carl Osaki, RS, MSPH. "Many scholars have shared resources and examples with others; this has helped everyone refine and clarify their projects."

Though tailored for a Montana-specific audience, the certificate program also allowed scholars from outside the state to join, including one participant from Oklahoma. The added experience helps enrich the entire program.

In the coming months, scholars will delve into their core coursework and integrated projects. Upcoming courses include: Program Planning and Evaluation, Financial Management, Conflict Negotiation, and Communication. The integrated projects will culminate in a final written paper and a presentation by the participant to their fellow scholars in June 2014.

View photos from the on-site session on Facebook.

To learn more about the Public Health Management Certificate, contact Janell Blackmer, Management Certificate Coordinator.

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