Competencies covered and developed for the Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute and MCH Professionals Leadership Training Program.

MCH Professional Leadership Competencies

The 2018 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute, which also serves as the cornerstone of the Maternal and Child Health Professionals Leadership Training Program, will incorporate competencies from both the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health and the Council on Linkages. Through these competencies, the curriculum meets the needs of today's workforce and prepares leaders from throughout the public health field to manage change and support population health across the life course.. 

2017 Competencies  

Health Equity and Culture

  • Develop a health equity lens and a vision for health equity transformation by understanding and recognizing the:
    • Social determinants of health
    • Ethical implications of health disparities within MCH populations
    • Interconnected ways culture, community strengths, diversity, socioeconomic factors, and institutionalized discrimination (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) can influence policies, programs, services, disparities, and the health of a community
  • Serve as a supportive convener for communities and stakeholders as they develop strategies, programs, and services that will improve the health and well-being of their communities
  • Recognize the factors and institutional barriers that limit diversity in some sectors of the public health workforce and public health leadership
  • Assess the organization for cultural humility and work actively to build a culturally relevant and respectful organization
  • Take measures to ensure authentic diversity of various groups in the public health workforce, including at the leadership level


  • Use self-reflection techniques effectively to assess leadership style and change management style, and to enhance program development, scholarship, and interpersonal relationships

Ethics and Professionalism 

  • Consider the culture and values of communities in the development of polices, programs, and practices that may affect them, and directly involve and follow the lead of these communities in that development process; understand that this process involves trust-building and respect
  • Identify ethical dilemmas and issues that affect MCH population groups and initiate and act as catalyst for determining and carrying out collaborative and ethical ways to create change about these issues

Critical Thinking

  • Ensure the use of evidence and authentic community input as strategies in developing, implementing, evaluating, and improving policies, programs, and services.


  • Convey data and information to professionals and the public using a variety of approaches (e.g., reports, presentations, email, letters, testimony, press interviews, infographics/data visualization, social media)
  • Synthesize up-to-date knowledge and research findings, including MCH knowledge and findings, by communicating clearly through effective presentations and written scholarship about MCH-related populations, issues, and/or services
  • Communicate in writing and orally for a variety of audiences with various needs, interests, and knowledge levels (e.g. public, policymakers, youth, or public health partners) with linguistic and cultural proficiency (e.g., using age-appropriate materials, incorporating images and infographics, materials in relevant languages, writing engagingly)
  • Thoughtfully develop a convincing MCH story designed to motivate constituents and policymakers to take action, and think strategically about choice and timing of particular MCH stories, building on growing public interest in relevant topics. Develop strategic vision for communication
  • Employ a repertoire of communication skills about sensitive issues, including disseminating information in a crisis, explaining health risks, and relaying difficult news

Negotiation and Conflict Resolution 

  • Demonstrate skills in conflict resolution and facilitation of communication among individuals, groups, and organizations

Management and Planning

  • Ensure continuous improvement of individual, program, and organizational performance (e.g., mentoring, monitoring progress, adjusting programs to achieve better results)
  • Ensure the management of organizational change (e.g., refocusing a program or an entire organization, minimizing disruption, maximizing effectiveness of change, engaging individuals affected by change)

Working and Collaborating with Systems and Communities

  • Systems Thinking: Understand how individuals, groups, organizations, and communities work together as a system, and interact with and transform this system to influence population health at all levels
  • Demonstrate understanding of various leadership structures to determine what is effective, positive, and relevant in various settings and organizations
  • Collaborate and build partnerships with communities to identify and prioritize potential programs, policies, and services for further exploration, determine factors that may influence implementation, and establish a timeline for implementation
  • Collaborate and engage with community members to improve health outcomes in a community (e.g., trust-building, authentic partnership, support for community-generated initiatives, feedback about programs and services, or developing and implementing programs, services, and community health assessments and improvement plan)
  • Build strong relationships and collaborate with all relevant sectors (e.g., partnerships with organizations serving the same population, academic institutions, policy makers, customers/clients/community members, and others) to develop a vision for a healthy community, strengthen existing work, and engage in opportunity or crisis

Life Course Perspective and MCH Knowledge Base

  • Continually develop MCH population knowledge base for quality policies, programs, and services that meet the needs and goals of specific MCH population groups.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and ability to keep staff updated on changing and relevant MCH issues in the region. 
  • Incorporate a life-course perspective into MCH-focused and MCH-inclusive public health practice
  • Collaborate with other health sectors invested in a life-course perspective
  • Incorporate a life-course perspective throughout the public health field

Policy Development, Advocacy, and Program Planning

  • Understand, navigate, and plan strategies to respond to the ways policies, funding changes, and system changes affect MCH populations
  • Use a variety of approaches and formats (e.g. reports, presentations, email, data visualization, letters, testimony, press interviews, articles) to influence policy or present evidence, data, and information in clear, comprehensible, and persuasive formats to relevant legislative bodies, key decision-makers, and foundations
  • Understand continuous quality improvement (CQI) and how to use data in quality improvement processes