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.

Partnerships between public health and primary care are essential for addressing health equity. 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.

Quick Facts

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

Sessions: (updated due to COVID-19 developments): March – September 2022. Two in-person gatherings (March 9–11 and September 14–16) in Seattle and one virtual session (June 15–17). We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and may modify the in-person gatherings to align with travel and other public health guidelines.

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.

Cost: $3,300. 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.

Application Deadlines: Applications for the 2022 program year are closed.

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 2022 program includes two in-person gatherings in Seattle (March 9–11 and September 14–16) and one virtual session (June 15-17). 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. We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and may modify the in-person gatherings to align with travel and other public health guidelines.

See a sample schedule for a virtual session.

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.

Janna Bardi, MPH

Faculty Mentor
Bio and contact >

Nikki Dettmar, MSIS, MS

Program Manager
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Gary Goldbaum, MD, MPH

Faculty Mentor
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Kendra Liljenquist, PhD, MPH

Faculty Facilitator
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Kathy Lofy, MD

Program Director
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Sarah Manchanda

Technical Support
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Kira McCoy, MPH

Faculty Facilitator
Bio and contact >

Brett Niessen, MPH

Faculty Facilitator
Bio and contact >

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