Management Academy To Boost Training For Local, State Public Health Departments

March 15, 1999

CHAPEL HILL - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will receive a $2.8 million grant to launch a management academy for public health professionals in four states that aims to improve how health departments nationwide serve citizens.

Officials from the university, the federal government and top health-related foundations today (March 15) announced plans for the Management Academy for Public Health, a first-of-its-kind project envisioned as a national model to address concerns public health officials have discussed for decades. The academy -- a joint effort of UNC-CH's School of Public Health and Kenan-Flagler Business School - will strengthen management skills of 600 senior- and mid-level managers in local and state public health departments across Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Participants will study in Chapel Hill as well as in their home communities via distance learning and the Internet.

Grant funds over four years will come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in Rockville, Md., the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Mich. and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J. The CDC's foundation will manage the project.

"By enabling improvements in public health management, the academy is designed to have measurable and meaningful effects on public health organizations and the communities that they serve," said Dr. William L. Roper, dean of the School of Public Health.

UNC-CH was selected from a pool of leading research universities to direct the academy because of its unique combination of expertise in public health and business administration, officials said.

"We look forward to demonstrating across the Southeast how we can use lessons from the worlds of business and public health practice to better equip the people responsible for delivering public health services to our citizens," said Dr. Robert S. Sullivan, dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Many health departments are hamstrung by fragmented programs, cumbersome bureaucracy and limited resources, Roper said. At the same time, those departments face managed health care, demographic and ethnic shifts in communities, emerging infectious diseases and environmental health threats including bioterrorism, and pressure to be more accountable and efficient. Roper pointed to the following hypothetical examples to show how training provided by the academy could help public health managers: The academy's work will begin this summer when teams of professionals from state and local public health departments come to Chapel Hill for a one-week program covering financial management, policy development, civic entrepreneurship, human resources and strategic management. After returning home, they will continue to study additional topics through the World Wide Web as well as by videoconferences originating from Chapel Hill. Participants will return to campus for a wrap-up session.

At UNC-CH, Dr. Janet E. Porter, clinical associate professor of health policy and administration, is the project director. Dr. James H. Johnson, director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, is project co-director.
For more information on the academy or to register for this summer's inaugural classes, visit on the World Wide Web or call 919-966-7382.

Note: Porter can be reached at 919-966-3309/; contact Johnson at 919-962-2261/

School of Public Health contact: Lisa Katz, 919-966-8498, Kenan-Flagler contact: Kim Spurr, 919-962-8951,

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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