The University of Arizona

Southwest Public Health Leadership Institute

“We must be led by those who have mastery of the skills to mobilize, coordinate and direct broad collaborative actions within the complex public health system. These skills need constant refinement and honing.”
The Future of the Public's Health in the 21st Century
Institute of Medicine, 2002

The Southwest Public Health Leadership Institute (SWPHLI) is dedicated to improving health in the Southwest by strengthening the public health workforce. The Institute provides competency-based training and leadership development and promotes collaboration among county, tribal, state and U.S.-Mexico border health programs.

The Southwest Public Health Leadership Institute has, since 1999, provided public health professionals in Arizona and the southwest region, competency-based leadership development and training to strengthen core and public health leadership competencies for emerging and seasoned public health professionals.

Funded in part by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute's primary goal is to strengthen the public health system in Arizona and the Southwest by enhancing public health leadership skills, system capacity, and collaboration among the major constituents of the public health system – including State, county and tribal public health professionals and our border and binational partners.

Why Do We Need Leadership Development in Public Health?

Strengthening the leadership skills of public health professionals is critical if we are to promote the health, well-being, and safety of our communities and strengthen the capacity of communities to combat growing health disparities.

There is an urgent need to improve the capacity of the national and global public health systems in order to:

  • Prevent disease, disability and injury
  • Promote health equity and wellness in our communities
  • Prepare for and respond to ongoing and emerging public health threats
  • Protect and provide a healthy environment

Working across the entire public health system to coordinate, assure, and improve infrastructure capacity and service delivery represents a new direction for leadership, one that requires close collaboration among the wide array of agencies that together comprise the public health system.

"It is imperative that public health professionals be trained in areas critical to their ability to carry out the work of public health. Without effective leadership, we cannot strengthen the infrastructure of public health in this country or be adequately prepared for emergencies of all types."
-Louis Rowitz, 2007

What is Public Health Leadership?

Leadership Development has been described as the art and science of strengthening leadership competencies of emerging, mid-level and senior public health professionals. This enables them to respond to 21st Century leadership challenges through improved public health system’s performance and to improve community health status. Leadership development initiatives commonly focus on:

  • Increasing individual and team leadership and management skills
  • Creating learning organizations
  • Improving intra- and inter-organizational performance
  • Using system’s thinking, also known as the ecological or "big picture" perspective of complex problems
  • Creating and implementing a shared vision

The Southwest Public Health Leadership Institute is part of the National Public Health Leadership Development Network through which resources and evidence-based practices are shared with other state, regional, national and international leadership programs.

Leaders across Borders 2010

Leaders across Borders 2010 is underway. Program Graduation is October 22, 2010 in El Paso Texas.

Read more about the program and participants on pages 4-5 of the USMBHC e-newsletter...

Download a LaB Brochure

The Leaders across Borders brochure may be downloaded in Adobe PDF format: