About: CSTE is piloting a new 18-month leadership program for mid-career epidemiologists – LEAD: Leading Epidemiologists, Advancing Data.  The program goals for CSTE LEAD are two-fold: 1) Enhance the applied epidemiology workforce and 2) Develop leaders for CSTE activities.  The LEAD program has been developed based on lessons learned from CSTE program administration and from other national leadership initiatives.  The program utilizes competency-based learning, evidence-based approaches, theory-based leadership frameworks, and CDC quality training standards.  The program will begin January 2021 and conclude June 2022. 

Benefits: LEAD participants will benefit from professional networking, mentorship, and skill-building exercises.  The training utilizes flexible learning, where the participant can select from training materials to better suit their interests and needs for specific topic areas or depth of content.  The project component will provide an opportunity to immediately apply the program’s training, facilitate professional growth, and advance an applied epidemiology project of importance.  An emphasis on various leadership development techniques to facilitate change and innovation will prepare participants to serve as national leaders in applied epidemiology.

Eligibility:  Applications will be limited to one per jurisdiction from state, territorial, tribal and CLUE/Big Cities Health Coalition member health departments and Tribal Epidemiology Centers.  At a minimum, candidates must have five years or more public health experience, intend to stay at their agency for at least two years, demonstrate leadership potential and interest, and be nominated by the State Epidemiologist/Health Official with identified, dedicated and protected time for program participation. Participants should plan to commit six hours per month for training activities and additional time for their project tasks.  Ideal candidates will be active in a CSTE subcommittee or workgroup, have at least three years of experience as an epidemiologist, and express interest in serving as a leader or providing mentorship within CSTE. Each participant will have support from their onsite supervisor, a project sponsor (individual with project technical expertise), and a mentor (experienced epidemiologist). Those selected for the LEAD program must participate in all learning and evaluation activities. Upon completion of the program, all participants will be awarded a certificate of completion.  Program alum will continue to serve in leadership roles for CSTE and provide mentorship for future program participants. 

Curriculum: The basic curriculum will be delivered virtually through an online community of practice, asynchronous learning opportunities, and monthly calls.  Monthly calls will be discussion based and will include periodic journal clubs to be facilitated by the participants.  All participants will have a project to lead, which will provide an opportunity to implement the training material on-the-job in a real-world situation. The project can be at a health department or at CSTE (e.g. via a subcommittee or workgroup) with a deliverable of significance to improve applied epidemiology practice. The training topics and competencies are listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Training Topics and Competencies 
Becoming a Leader 
Leadership in Public Health 
     1. Compare attributes of leaders and managers 
     2. Provide examples of leadership in public health 
     3. Identify your personal leadership style 
Executive Presence and Approachability 
     4. Assess your personal self-awareness 
     5. Discuss strategies to influence and inspire others 
Motivating a Team 
Group Facilitation and Consensus Building
    6. Identify best practices for facilitating virtual meetings
    7. Identify best practices for consensus building and decision making as a team leader 
    8. Demonstrate best practices for group facilitation
Project Management 
    9. Describe effective practices for team management 
    10. Utilize evaluation to assess program effectiveness 
Engaging Stakeholders
    11. Identify and assess stakeholder interests and needs 
    12. Discuss strategies to motivate and engage stakeholders 
    13. Develop a plan for stakeholder engagement 
Leading an Organization 
Strategic Communications 
    14. Utilize storytelling techniques to communicate about public health issues
    15. Utilize appropriate frameworks for tailored communication principles to articulate the voice of your organization
    16. Apply strategic communication principles to articulate the voice of your organization 
Change Management 
    17. Demonstrate tactics to manage individual and institutional dynamics of change 
    18. Assess strategies to manage conflict resolution 
Financial Management
    19. Develop and assess budgets and financial statements 
    20. Ensure organizational effectiveness through financial planning 
Navigating Politics and Systems Change
Integrated Partnerships to Improve Public Health 
     21. Describe strategies to foster boundary spanning partnership 
Using Epidemiology Data to Drive Policy 
     22. Utilize legal epidemiology to inform strategic initiatives 
     23. Distinguish between advocacy and education: the role of citizens and governmental employees
     24. Assess data-driven policy initiatives 
Public Health Politics 101 
    25. Describe the political landscape affecting governmental public health practice 
    26. Identify strategies to prepare and provide testimony for public health issues 
CSTE Governance & Position Statement Process 
   27. Outline attributes of effective governance  
   28. Describe the CSTE Executive Board and Governance Structure
   29. Discuss the process for maintaining the list of Nationally Notifiable Conditions 

Coaching:  Throughout the CSTE LEAD program, participants will have a support team consisting of an onsite supervisor, mentor, and project supervisor. The responsibilities and roles of the onsite supervisor, mentor, and project supervisor include:   

Onsite Supervisor: Provide dedicated time and protected resources for program participation.  For projects occurring at the health agency, onsite supervisors should help make professional connections and inform leadership as appropriate.   

Mentor: Share from their public health leadership experience.  Provide guidance related to working as an epidemiologist, serving as a leader, and project management. Commit 1-2 hours a month to engaging with the participant. Mentors may need to participate in some of the training activities to facilitate discussion with the participant.   

Project Sponsor: Provides subject matter and technical expertise for the project.  Commit at least 2-3 hours per month to provide project assistance.  

Note that the identification of a project sponsor and/or mentor is not necessary at the time of application submission. Additional career coaching may be available for program participants.  

Applications for CSTE LEAD are currently closed. For questions about CSTE LEAD, contact LEARN@cste.org.