Fifty-four public health officials from 10 countries and regional entities in the Caribbean started the online course on “Public Health Leadership: Leading the health sector during COVID-19 and beyond”, offered through the Caribbean Node of the Virtual Campus for Public Health, from October 12, 2020.

The course aims at building leadership skills among public health managers that would allow them to lead the response to emerging public health issues, including emergencies and disasters.

The initiative provides comprehensive skill sets and knowledge related to health leadership. Participants will learn about the theoretical foundations of public health leadership and apply their knowledge in meaningful, real-world learning activities, often related to their current work.

After finishing the course, participants will be able to apply principles of leadership, governance, management, and collaboration to varied scenarios; develop mission and vision statements that align with described organizational structures; and apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges.

The online course has a duration of 11 weeks, with an estimated workload of 6-8 hours per week, which includes asynchronous and synchronous activities.

Participants are permanent secretaries, unit/department directors, senior medical officers, program coordinators and project officers from health services in Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Guyana, Monserrat, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.


Testimonial by Jn Claude Felix, PAHO-NPC from Haiti

My first contact with PAHO was through the virtual campus of public health with my participation at the Leadership in international Health program in 2017. That was just the first chapter of a long story between the VCPH and I.  Three years later, the public Health leadership course is the perfect complement of this program and a masterpiece in my quest to improve my performance as a public health servant. If all the topics developed all along the course were important, conflict management, team building and partnership in PH are key elements in my daily work that this course has allowed me to better apprehend.

I feel a more complete leader now.

Testimonial by Debra Thomas

PAHO and NextGenU created an opportunity to bring together health care professionals from several nations on a virtual platform for eleven weeks. This experience has been epic, it allowed my colleagues and I, to share from our wealth of knowledge as well as to learn from the course content. While we were familiar with some famous public health leaders from our history, new heroes were identified from our assignments. Styles of leadership,ethics and system thinking and capacity development and teamwork was brought to life, as each of us identified ourselves in the hand scheme of things when it came to management of the COVID 19 pandemic.

This course came at a good time to assist me in reassessing my leadership role in public health and served as a reminder of how important it is for countries to get together in the fight against diseases. I highly recommend the NextGenU team for their foresight and professionalism.

Testimonial by Ayana John

The Public Health Leadership course was offered to me at a time when I required a new skill set and a new vision for myself as a public health practitioner. I had just been promoted and needed to reposition my concept of a leader; so I welcomed the opportunity to glean from such a training opportunity. The blended learning strategy with adjusted/relaxed deadlines made the experience more suitable for my schedule and allowed me to consume the content at a moderate pace while balancing the demands of work and family life..The expansive content of the modules, offered a review of some topics and introduced new concepts such  as systems thinking which helped me to contextualise complex problems in public health with an aim to get "high leverage": big change with few unintended consequences. I especially appreciated reading the contributions of other public health professionals from the region; this provided much needed interaction and offered a chance to explore other countries during this COVID 19 pandemic when travel is limited and borders are closed. I have already experienced transformation as a result of the course, for this, I am thankful.

Testimonial by Maria Daniel

In having the opportunity to participate in this course I have found it has helped broaden my mind with regards to the intricacies of Leadership in Public Health.

Despite completing my Masters in Public Health, I found this course to offer dimensions of Leadership Management that was not taught in my programme. I truly enjoyed learning about the many skills true leadership encompasses, as well as the different strategies employed in organisational management- on a much greater scale than I had initially anticipated.

The interactive sessions and peer reviews provided a wonderful opportunity to interact with colleagues from different backgrounds, and hear their perspectives on common issues. I felt that the opportunity given to me to participate in this course will be invaluable in honing my abilities as a leader, teaching me how I can effectively promote the importance of Public Health among my peers and colleagues alike for the greater good.

Testimonial by Alicia Gooding

The public health leadership virtual course is ideal for anyone working in any area of public health. The learning and skills I have gained have already proven invaluable, as no matter where you work, at some point we are all called upon to fulfill leadership roles aimed at providing and improving health services. The course work is very intense over a short period of time but it is virtual learning at its best. Great communication, guidance and flexibility from all the coordinators. The course structure has been well designed, providing foundation readings with in-class practical discussion. I have enjoyed learning alongside colleagues and hearing perspectives from different areas of public health

Testimonial by Desiree Baird

The PH Leadership Course has been a really fulfilling experience for me. The past few weeks I spent with participants of various nationalities and professions has been extremely important. The diverse number of persons from different countries and occupations, the members of, the impressive curriculum, has provided great stimulus and insight, resulting in increased confidence. The reflective conversations and discussions with other participants from various vocations, has enabled me to have a better understanding of leadership.

The weekly readings are very edifying. Our knowledge is tested with weekly quizzes and I appreciate the opportunity to have several attempts at improving my grades. The assignments and peer analysis provided an opportunity to showcase our communities and countries.  I enjoyed the sessions when we were divided into smaller groups as we openly vocalized and shared our different experiences. Of special emphasis were the times when we had visiting presenters who shared their experiences. The PH Leadership Course is invaluable and adaptable to the performance of my duties and I have already implemented some measures.

Thanks to this programme and the generous support of the NextGenU Team, I feel empowered to further develop my leadership skills. What an exciting learning experience. Great job NextGenU Team!!