Context: Addressing the nation's increasingly complex public health challenges will require more effective multisector collaboration and stronger public health leadership. In 2005, the Healthy Wisconsin Leadership Institute launched an annual, year-long intensive “community teams” program. The goal of this program is to develop collaborative leadership and public health skills among Wisconsin-based multisectoral teams mobilizing their communities to improve public health.
Objective: To measure the scope of participation and program impacts on individual learning and practice, including application of new knowledge and collective achievements of teams on coalition and short-term community outcomes.
Design: End-of-year participant program evaluations and follow-up telephone interviews with participants 20 months after program completion.
Setting: Community-based public health leadership training program.
Participants: Sixty-eight participants in the Community Teams Program during the years 2006 to 2007 and 2007 to 2008.
Main Outcome Measures: Professional diversity of program participants; individual learning and practice, including application of new knowledge; and collective achievements of teams, including coalition and short-term community outcomes.
Results: Participants in the Community Teams Program represent a diversity of sectors, including nonprofit, governmental, academic, business, and local public health. Participation increased knowledge across all public health and leadership competency areas covered in the program. Participating teams reported outcomes, including increased engagement of community leadership, expansion of preventive services, increased media coverage, strengthened community coalitions, and increased grant funding.
Conclusions: Evaluation of this community-based approach to public health leadership training has shown it to be a promising model for building collaborative and public health leadership skills and initiating sustained community change for health improvement.