Investing in Effective Health Management

Without strong public health management and efficient organizational performance, many important global health initiatives in low-resource countries fall short of their intended goals. How can this challenge be addressed?

One approach is to provide a high-quality, accelerated training experience for public health managers in developing countries. To meet this goal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed an initiative called Improving Public Health Management for Action (IMPACT), which works with ministries of health to strengthen public health management by developing skilled public health advisors.

IMPACT received initial support through a one-year planning grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Centers for CDC through the CDC Foundation. The program is led by the Division of Global Health Protection in CDC’s Center for Global Health.

In each country, the program is owned and managed by ministries of health and will target training to develop program- and operations-level managers for their public health system. Participants are selected competitively for the competency-based training and service program, with structured mentorship and supervision to help them advance the future of health in their countries.

The program builds on the successes of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, Field Epidemiology Training Program, Sustainable Management Development Program and Public Health Associate Program.

Launched in Bangladesh and Kenya in 2016, plans call for the program to expand to additional countries in the future.

Kenya's two-tier program features a five-month Distinguished Fellows course for senior-level managers, and a two-year Master of Public Health Program for early professionals. Kenya's first cohort of 12 Distinguished Fellows graduated from IMPACT in October 2016; nearly 80 percent of the fellows reported using their new management skills prior to graduation. Five of the graduates are now mentoring and supervising the master’s program, which began in 2017.

In Bangladesh, where IMPACT launched in Spring 2016, six top-performing doctors from the Ministry of Health have been strategically placed in field assignments outside of the national Ministry of Health Offices to build capacity in areas beyond the capital city. According to Dr. William Foege, former CDC director and senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:

In 60 years, IMPACT will be the same kind of signature program as the Epidemic Intelligence Service and will address one of the major gaps in global health today—the gap between tools available and delivery of those tools.

“I am grateful for this program. It is a great opportunity to increase our knowledge and experience and to help our country too,” noted a Bangladesh fellow.

Content includes excerpts from CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection and Security field updates.

Learn more: Contact Advancement at the CDC Foundation:, 404.653.0790.

Photos © David Snyder/CDC Foundation, CDC; Content excerpted from CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection Updates from the Field.

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