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Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

Public Health Training, Research, and Evaluation for the Northwest

Northwest Public Health & Primary Care Leadership Institute

The Northwest Public Health & Primary Care Leadership Institute is a newly developed offering from the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice and the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association.

The Institute uses a problem-based learning curriculum and is guided by practice-based faculty to build collaborative skills for the next generation of leaders in their fields, since now more than ever these partnerships between public health and primary care are essential.

Quick Facts

Focus: Intersections of primary care and public health with a focus on health equity

When: March–October 2021. Two virtual meetings (March 10–12 and June 23–25) and one tentatively planned in-person meeting in Seattle (October 21–23) that overlaps with the CHAMPS/NWRPCA Fall Primary Care Conference.

Format: Distance-based and in-person learning, small groups

Who Should Apply: Mid-career professionals from public health and community-based primary care settings, people of color and other underrepresented groups, and professionals working in rural areas or with medically underserved populations are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Deadlines: Applications accepted through December 1, 2020. Early-bird deadline is October 30, 2020. Apply through the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association.

Cost: $3,000 ($2,700 by the early-bird deadline) Fees cover faculty, staff, facilities, program resources, access to distance learning technologies, and most meals during the on-site sessions. They do not cover travel or lodging expenses to and from the in-person sessions. Limited scholarship funds are available, see the application for more details.

Questions: For questions about the program, contact Nikki Dettmar at the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice or Seth Doyle at the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association.

Intended Audience

We welcome mid-career professionals from many public health and primary care fields, particularly emerging leaders working with rural and underserved populations on health care transformation. Participants represent, but are not limited to, state and local health departments, community health centers, tribal health departments, community-based organizations, hospitals, Washington’s Accountable Communities of Health or Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations, behavioral health organizations, and the Washington State Health Care Authority.

Learning Goals and Formats

The curriculum, taught by practice-based faculty and guest speakers from around the region, uses a variety of methods to build leadership competencies for addressing today’s most challenging public health and primary care issues, especially around collaboration. Scholars participate in group and individual assignments, panels, lectures, webinars, and discussions, and use problem-based learning to explore real-life situations leaders face in the field. They also work on a project specific to their work or organization, mentored by senior faculty with executive experience. An individual leadership plan serves as a roadmap for their personal leadership development. Learn more about the leadership competencies that are explored through the Institute curriculum.

What is problem-based learning?

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional approach that simulates real-world problems to drive the learning process. Program faculty and staff write cases and support small learning groups of scholars who examine the cases, identify key issues, research solutions, and apply findings to each case. This approach allows scholars to work with the complexities of real-world public health challenges. It also encourages both self-directed learners and team players.

Cases help scholars acquire situational knowledge, which is critical for effectively retrieving and applying information. This is especially important in a leadership context because situational knowledge is more tangible and detail-oriented, as opposed to content knowledge, which is more abstract and principle-oriented. Watch a brief video about problem-based learning.

What’s the difference between NWCPHP’s Public Health Management Certificate and the Leadership Institute?

The Leadership Institute focuses on skills designed to lead organizations through change or move organizations in a new direction. Some of these skills include visioning, self-understanding, motivating and inspiring others, and aligning people. The Public Health Management Certificate focuses on skills that provide structure and consistency within an organization. Some of these skills include budgeting, planning, staffing, conflict negotiation, and interpersonal understanding. Both sets of skills are needed for a successful organization.


The program begins with two virtual on-site sessions in March and June, with a planned in-person Seattle meeting in October. Distance-based learning and coaching activities take place between the live group sessions, including individual and group assignments, panels, lectures, discussions, and work on real-world case studies. The group sessions take place on March 10–12, June 23–25, and October 21–23, 2021. We are monitoring the COVID-19 reopening and may modify the live sessions to align with travel and other guidelines.

See a sample schedule for a virtual onsite.

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Northwest Public Health & Primary Care Leadership Institute values a diverse cohort of professionals, including those from smaller non-profit organizations or other institutions that may not have the funds to cover full tuition, or from departments that need additional support. We are seeking additional funding to support partial scholarships for the program and we invite institutions and individuals interested in investing in future leaders to contact us about contributing.

Faculty and Staff

The Leadership Institute works with faculty, staff, instructors, and guest speakers from the University of Washington and beyond.

Nikki Dettmar, MSIS, MS

Program Manager
Bio and contact >

Kevin deVoss, MA

Faculty Facilitator
Bio and contact >

Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH

Faculty Lead
Bio and contact >

Kendra Liljenquist, PhD, MPH

Faculty Facilitator
Bio and contact >

Sarah Manchanda

Technical Support
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Bruce Miyahara, MHA

Leadership project instructor and coach
Bio and contact >

Brett Niessen, MPH

Faculty Facilitator
Bio and contact >

Jack Thompson, MSW

Leadership project instructor and coach
Bio and contact >

Photograph of Institute scholars.
Leadership & Management
Certificate Programs and Institutes
9 months
Competency Domains: 
Leadership and Systems Thinking Skills