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The Public Health Leadership and Implementation Academy for Noncommunicable Diseases
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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:
    Purpose and Objectives

    Low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMICs) have a large burden of noncommunicable diseases and confront leadership capacity challenges and gaps in implementation of proven interventions. To address these issues, we designed the Public Health Leadership and Implementation Academy (PH-LEADER) for noncommunicable diseases. The objective of this program evaluation was to assess the quality and effectiveness of PH-LEADER.

    Intervention Approach

    PH-LEADER was directed at midcareer public health professionals, researchers, and government public health workers from LMICs who were involved in prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases. The 1-year program focused on building implementation research and leadership capacity to address noncommunicable diseases and included 3 complementary components: a 2-month online preparation period, a 2-week summer course in the United States, and a 9-month, in-country, mentored project.

    Evaluation Methods

    Four trainee groups participated from 2013 through 2016. We collected demographic information on all trainees and monitored project and program outputs. Among the 2015 and 2016 trainees, we assessed program satisfaction and pre–post program changes in leadership practices and the perceived competence of trainees for performing implementation research.


    Ninety professionals (mean age 38.8 years; 57% male) from 12 countries were trained over 4 years. Of these trainees, 50% were from India and 29% from Mexico. Trainees developed 53 projects and 9 publications. Among 2015 and 2016 trainees who completed evaluation surveys (n = 46 of 55), we saw pre–post training improvements in the frequency with which they acted as role models (Cohen’s d = 0.62, P <.001), inspired a shared vision (d = 0.43, P =.005), challenged current processes (d = 0.60, P <.001), enabled others to act (d = 0.51, P =.001), and encouraged others by recognizing or celebrating their contributions and accomplishments (d = 0.49, P =.002). Through short on-site evaluation forms (scale of 1–10), trainees rated summer course sessions as useful (mean, 7.5; SD = 0.2), with very good content (mean, 8.5; SD = 0.6) and delivered by very good professors (mean, 8.6; SD = 0.6), though they highlighted areas for improvement.

    Implications for Public Health

    The PH-LEADER program is a promising strategy to build implementation research and leadership capacity to address noncommunicable diseases in LMICs.

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