Meta-Leadership Program Results Report Released by RWJF

The middle of a crisis is not the time to exchange business cards. That was one of the reasons that the CDC Foundation partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Harvard University and communities across the country to bring business, nonprofit and government leaders together to prepare for emergencies. The five-year program was completed in 2011, and last week RWJF released a review of this initiative, "Developing a Program to Improve Cooperation Among Federal, State and Local Leaders When Responding to Natural and Man-Made Disasters." The report evaluates the Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness project that trained leaders to engage in cross-agency strategic thinking and collaboration for disaster preparedness. I am pleased with the results.

MLI photoThrough the Meta-Leadership program we held summits in 36 strategic locations across the country. The program condensed the in-depth National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, offered by Drs. Lenny Marcus and Barry Dorn at the Harvard School of Public Health, into a one- and a half-day event with a follow-up session in each community. Drs. Marcus and Dorn and CDC did a great job leading the program. We were able to recruit thousands to attend – 5,000 leaders.

An evaluation of the initiative conducted by ICF Macro for RWJF revealed that 73 percent of Meta-Leadership Summit participants applied lessons learned, and almost half created or modified emergency response plans. Importantly, almost two-thirds believed that their responses to crises improved and that they had better communication and coordination mechanisms in place as a result of the summit.

We are proud to have been part of this successful initiative. I am grateful to RWJF for showing the leadership to fund the program, to Drs. Marcus and Dorn for developing the concept of Meta-Leadership and for their commitment to consistently deliver engaging and outstanding presentations at the summits and to CDC for its leadership and support throughout the initiative. It was an honor for those of us at the CDC Foundation, board and staff, to be able to design and coordinate this model program, successfully training leaders and bringing communities together to improve emergency preparedness.

Learn More:

Go to the report on the RWJF website.

About the Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness:

The Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness, a five-year initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a model approach for bringing communities together to improve emergency preparedness and build community resilience. From 2006 through 2011, initiative partners organized and hosted 36 Summits across the country, training 5,000 business, government and nonprofit leaders in meta-leadership concepts. The CDC Foundation partnered with CDC, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative-Harvard School of Public Health to host the successful networking and training events. CDC Foundation continues to promote the concepts and practice of meta-leadership on the Meta-Leadership Summit Resource Center on the CDC Foundation website.


Charles Stokes is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.