The Minority Leadership Program (MLP) was developed by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) to enhance leadership skills among public health professionals of color that work within HIV, viral hepatitis, or drug user health programs in health departments. The goal of the study was to analyze experiences of MLP alumni in their respective health departments, explore opportunities to address cultural issues, and explore leadership opportunities for alumni.
The research team conducted a mixed-methods approach to this study. It included qualitative data analysis of 2018-2019 MLP applicants (n = 32), online surveys to MLP alumni (n = 51), and key informant interviews with former MLP cohort members (n = 7). Thematic coding was conducted for all qualitative data collection tools using Dedoose.
Setting and Participants:
Study was conducted virtually between September 2020 and March 2021. A total of 90 individuals participated in this evaluation research study. These individuals were former cohort members of MLP by NASTAD.
No health intervention was conducted.
Main Outcome Measure:
Achievement of participant-level experiences after completion of MLP.
Microaggressions in the workplace, lack of diversity in the workplace, positive experiences participating in the MLP, and networking opportunities were common themes throughout the study. Other themes included challenges and successes experienced after MLP completion, and MLP's contribution to advancing professionally within the health department.
Overall, participants had positive experiences participating in MLP and spoke highly of the networking opportunities available in the program. Individuals who participated recognized a lack of open dialogue and conversations surrounding racial equity, racial justice, and health equity within their respective departments. The research evaluation team recommends that NASTAD continue collaborating with health departments to address issues on racial equity and social justice with health department staff. Programs such as MLP are critical to diversifying the public health workforce to adequately address issues on health equity.