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With New Leadership Skills, Public Health and Primary Care Face Change Together

NWCPHP’s January 9, 2015 leadership development training, Leading and Managing Change: Essential Skills for Continuing Leadership Development, addressed change management leadership styles and new opportunities for collaboration.

NWCPHP’s January 9, 2015 leadership development training, Leading and Managing Change: Essential Skills for Continuing Leadership Development, addressed change management leadership styles and new opportunities for collaboration.

January 22, 2015

Along with tremendous change, implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) brings new opportunities for leadership and collaboration. But what skills do public health and health care leaders need to seize these opportunities and manage change effectively? And how can the public health and health care sectors collaborate in new ways to advance population health?

These were a few of the pressing questions participants and facilitators discussed at NWCPHP’s Leading and Managing Change: Essential Skills for Continuing Leadership Development training, held January 9, 2015. The event brought together alumni of the Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute with new participants who hoped to preview content planned for the upcoming 2015 program.

Participants built “leadership skills needed to best promote an integrated systems approach between public health and primary care,” said faculty facilitator Bud Nicola, who led the training along with Mandy Stahre, Chronic Disease Epi Supervisor with the Washington State Department of Health, and Tao Kwan-Gett, Director of NWCPHP.

The training reflected a vision that—through collaboration in the face of considerable change—public health and primary care can bring about a more connected, broader-perspective health system advancing goals of lifelong population health, care access, and health equity for which these sectors have long advocated.

The training included a panel discussion on how governmental public health and health care systems can work together to maximize population health during system transformation. Moderated by Kwan-Gett—whose background spans primary care, public health, and global health—the panel consisted of leaders with varied perspectives on changes the ACA brings to Washington State: Bruce Gray, CEO of Northwest Regional Primary Care Association, Rob Reid, Senior Investigator at Group Health Research Institute, and Kathy Lofy, State Health Officer from the Washington State Department of Health.

Nicola, Stahre, and Kwan-Gett also led participants through an interactive problem-based learning (PBL) case focused on leadership development and systems change in a real-world setting. Participants, who had discussed the case in webinars prior to the event, “particularly appreciated an opportunity to try out problem-based learning methods,” said Nicola. One participant reflected, “The PBL case format is excellent because it really fosters rich discussion and conversation and seems to be very effective at engaging the participants.”

Savvy change management requires not just new leadership skills, but also insight and tools to assess one’s own change management leadership style. Toward this goal, Kwan-Gett led participants through Discovery Learning Inc.'s Change Style Indicator, a tool that encourages collaboration and innovation by enabling leaders to measure their own change management leadership styles, and to understand how an organization needs individuals of all different styles to successfully navigate change.

Over lunch, participants discussed what elements, components, and obstacles should be considered in planning a leadership training program for primary care and public health. One such opportunity will start this spring—registration will open soon for the 2015 Leadership Institute, which will address broader questions about collaboration across sectors and change management, presented through a life-course lens focused on maternal and child health and related issues.

View photos from the event.

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