Public health is a vital speciality of community medicine which integrates public health concepts, clinical care delivery and healthcare of an individual. Public health leadership with the ability to influence and motivate people contributes toward the success of the community. Public health is an interdisciplinary field wherein the leaders mentor and coach professionals from diverse backgrounds to achieve goals at the basic community as well as a larger national and international levels. Leaders emerge due to encouragement and empowerment. The scope and reach of public health needs to focus on all factors that promote health including those related to education, economic development, logistics, food resources and environmental problems.
Public health leaders
The vision of health systems leaders is to maximize the contributions in public health by management and clinical approaches. The leaders must have passion and values to create and continuously improve the health of the nation. They must have courage to push for change and use an evidence-based approach in decision-making. The skill to influence organizational, political and public behaviour benefits the leaders. Adopting better education system is important to train the future leaders of the health system.
The leadership and management skills of public health workforce helps reduce morbidity and mortality. Collection of more information to strategize better public health planning and to determine the role of community chief health strategists needs help from government, public health workers in state and local health agencies.
Challenges of Public health
The funding process needs attention due to the limited resources available for public health. Limited funding support available impacts the training and workforce development programs. Attempts to solve this issue are often met with resistance by funding agencies and policy makers concerned about diluting the true intent of the investments or diverting the funds for other purposes.
The needs of the community are priority of public health leaders which forms the basis of various strategies and programs. Effective coalition building, collective impact, and facilitation of strategic discussions within and across sectors are achieved by leadership development, improving management skills along with policy development, persuasive communication and strategic thinking. Concerted and coordinated efforts are required to build such high-performance skills in leaders. There is a need to elevate these skill to that of the core skills obtained by discipline-specific training within public health. Public health organizations and departments have developed and implemented various surveys to help improve the understanding of the workforce and their development needs.
Establishing a starting point for building public health leadership capacity and recognising the factors or conditions that support effective leadership on social determinants of health and health equity is crucial. To unleash the energy and moral responsibility of the public health workforce and address health inequities, more education and mentorship of public health leaders is essential. The varied professional backgrounds and organizational cultures in public health should be accounted. Public health professionals need to be focussed on serious health inequities that require attention of public health leaders. Further research on effective approaches to leadership development could assist academic centres and various organizations to support building a better team of public health professionals to address the serious health inequities.
Online Course in Tropical Medicine
James Lind Institute (JLI) provides an online program in Professional Diploma in Public Health Management to nurture leadership skills for effective implementation of public health programs. JLI also provides an executive program for public health professionals to climb the management ladder and take their career to greater heights as public health leaders (Executive Program in Public Health Leadership).
For more information please visit: www.jliedu.com