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Leadership, collaboration, and effective training principles and practices from a decade of training by a center for public health preparedness

William Michael Reid, PhD, MBA, Lisa M. Brown, PhD, Danielle C. Landis, PhD, MPH

Abstract


Objective: To review a decade's experience of a Centers for Disease Control and Preparedness (CDC) funded Center for Public Health Preparedness (hereafter referred to as the Center) and to identify interventions that led to surmounting serious obstacles to achieving the Center's CDC-mandated goals and objectives. The Center's purpose was to train the public health workforce to protect the population from bioterrorism, infectious diseases, and emerging public health threats.

Design: This case study used the concepts of the judgment process as developed by Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis to describe the experiences and actions of the Center's leaders. Center staff used public health principles of collaboration, the use of relevant science, and professional training principles in developing and delivering training in epidemiology, behavioral health, crisis leadership, and other fields through distance learning and on-site methods.

Setting: The study's primary focus was on training in Florida, although the program's reach was national and international.

Participants: Preparedness training was provided to approximately 10,000 public health officials, primarily drawn from Florida.

Main outcome measure(s): This is a descriptive study of the Center's activities. The interventions were the steps taken by Center leadership to accomplish the federal and state goals of the program, despite meeting major challenges. The outcome measures were degrees of success, as measured by federal and state officials and other indicators, in delivering high quality training that met CDC and state goals.

Results: The Center delivered trainings in fields determined to be needed in Florida and nationally. Participant and observer evaluations were strongly positive. Nationally published papers and presentations contributed to the training evidence base. The Florida Department of Health incorporated the trainings into Florida's mandatory training for Incident Command strike teams. The leaders of the Center and the Florida Department of Health developed a formal statement of principles to guide the training. These could be useful to other training organizations.

Conclusions: The study illustrates the value of the Tichy and Bennis judgment process framework to describe actions of the Center leadership's successful effort to overcome system obstacles and provide high quality training to public health workers. The framework can be used by leaders in other organizations to increase their ability to make good judgments.

Keywords


public health preparedness, preparedness training, public health workforce development

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2014.0160

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