Dynamic Training Brings Senior Leaders Together

By Nikole Allen and Jeannie Mantopoulos, Yale University Global Health Leadership Initiative (GHLI)

Senior Leadership Development facilitator Lourdes de la Peza talks to participants during a recent training in Uganda.While many senior health professionals have similar objectives, whether it is increasing access to services or improving quality of care, they seldom have the opportunity to exchange experiences and learn from one another. The Senior Leadership Program (SLP) was designed to do exactly that – create a venue that enables senior leaders to collaboratively solve policy and system level problems and find creative solutions to complex challenges.

Senior leaders—from hospital managers to ministers of health—join the SLP to learn from each other and to continue to develop their own leadership, management and governance skills. In addition to strengthening their individual capacities, participants develop the skills required to successfully work with and lead diverse teams, and enable new collaborations across organizations, ministries, hospitals and sectors. In a recent senior leadership program, a team of Ethiopian Regional and Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs senior leaders came together and developed the objective, to establish national supply chain procedures for physical rehabilitation related materials by the end of May 2014.

The SLP was collaboratively designed by the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI) and Management Sciences for Health (MSH) as part of USAID’s Leadership, Management and Governance Project. Yale instructors lead delivery of the program with the support of local academic institutions and partners in order to tailor the training to participants’ needs and build local institutional and faculty capacity for adoption of local SLP programs.

The SLP was piloted with the National University of Rwanda School of Public Health, which has since successfully adapted the SLP and will launch its own leadership, management, and governance certificate program in January 2014. Following the success of this pilot program, two additional SLPs have been launched, one in Ethiopia, where the SLP instructors engaged and graduated 12 teams from each of the Regional Health Bureaus and the Federal Ministry of Health. The other program was done in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), where the LMG Project engaged four teams from Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Zambia in an SLP program focusing specifically on disability and physical rehabilitation services. A fourth program will launch this fall in Ethiopia to develop the individual and group leadership capacities of senior officials within Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health.

The governance curriculum, a new feature of the LMG project, is an important component of the SLP. The curriculum provides a framework for participants to draw from their own experiences in engaging stakeholders, stewarding resources, cultivating accountability, and setting a shared direction. A Rwanda SLP graduate noted, “[This program] helped me engage staff and other stakeholders to solve problems in my hospital and cultivated in me the spirit of accountability.”

Other innovative elements of the program include applied learning and mentoring. The SLP curriculum is framed by an understanding that coursework becomes internalized through practice. With this in mind, the SLP requires an extensive field assignment in which participants address a particular challenge in their organization using the strategic problem-solving methods and leadership frameworks. Participants receive feedback and mentoring by SLP instructors throughout the field experience, and then report on progress, results and lessons learned upon return to the classroom.

The curriculum also introduces a relational framework for leadership, understanding leadership as a dynamic role within a group. Drawing on professional experiences, participants understand and discuss the dynamic relationship between leadership and followership roles, managing inter-group relations as well as power and hierarchy in organizations.

As the SLP expands, the LMG Project consortium of partners continues to refine the curriculum to maximize learning and foster meaningful exchange across disciplines, organizations, and sectors. The LMG Project plans to continue providing innovative Senior Leadership Programs to inspire development of stronger health systems, and improve human health around the globe.


Related Links:

Find out more about the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI): http://ghli.yale.edu/

Links to stories about the Senior Leadership Program (SLP):

SLP in Rwanda http://yaleghli.blogspot.com/2013/02/equipping-rwandan-hospitals-to-address.html

SLP with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): http://yaleghli.blogspot.com/search/label/In%20Country