Gillings School Directory
Claudia S. Plaisted Fernandez, DrPH

Claudia S. Plaisted Fernandez, DrPH

Associate Professor
Department of Maternal and Child Health
ACOG National Leadership Institute
Director, Leadership Core
Food Systems Leadership Institute
  • 426 Rosenau Hall
  • CB #7445
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  • USA

Dr. Claudia Fernandez is the co-author of It-Factor Leadership: Become a Better Leader in 13 Steps. For the past decade she has directed the ACOG National Leadership Institute for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. During this time she has also served as the Director of the Leadership Core for the Food Systems Leadership Institute (, the flagship leadership program of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) which is targeted to academic Deans, Heads, and Vice Presidents, industry and government leaders. FSLI was named 2nd and 3rd place nationally for Open Enrollment and Custom Leadership Program in the Leadership Excellence in 2016. In 2015 Dr. Fernandez was named Co-Principal Investigator for the Advancing Change Leadership—Clinical Scholars National Leadership Program, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She also served as Director and PI for the Maternal and Child Health-Public Health Leadership Institute (, which was named a Leadership500 Excellence Award Winner Top 15 Leadership Program in 2015. Dr. Fernandez is also a licensed and Registered Dietitian, and as such has a particular interest in leadership in healthcare systems and high-performing healthcare and public health teams. 

Dr. Fernandez has published her research outcomes, demonstrating the impact and effectiveness of her leadership programs. She is certified in a wide variety of leadership assessment tools and teaches a course on leadership.

Honors and Awards



Leadership Excellence Awards

2016, Food Systems Leadership Institute named 2nd in U.S. for Open Enrollment Continuing Education with an Emphasis in Leadership and 3rd in the U.S. for Custom Content Programming in Continuing Education with an Emphasis on Leadership and Organizational Development, in partnership with NC State University

Representative Courses

MCH/PUBH 790 Fundamentals of Leadership

Research Activities

Dr. Fernandez actively researches both the outcomes of the leadership institute programs in which she is involved and also how to effectively deliver executive development programs.

Service Activities

2015-present  Chair of MCH Adjunct Professor's Committee

Practice Activities

Dr. Fernandez is Co-PI, Advancing Change Leaders/Leadership for Better Health--Clinical Scholars, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program to support the Culture of Health in the United States.

Key Publications

Creating an Enviornment of Accountability. Claudia Fernandez (2018). FastTrack Leadership Digital Media.

Succession Planning 101. Angela Rosenberg (2018). FastTrack Leadership Digital Media.

Clinical Scholars: Equipping Clinicians with Transformational Leadership Training to Address Complex Health Issues. Cheryl Noble (2018). Reproductive Health and Medicine.

Developing Doctors: The effectiveness of a physician leadership institute on participant skills and professional association leadership. Claudia Fernandez (2018). Reproductive Health and Medicine.


DrPH, Public Health Leadership / Health Policy and Administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003

Post-Maste, Psychology, UNC-CH, 1995

Post-Maste, Psychology, Institute for Health Psychology, 1994

Post-Maste, Psychology, Harvard University Extension School, 1991

Post-Maste, Behavioral Medicine, The Institute of Behavioral Medicine New England Deaconess Hospital, 1990

MS, Clinical Nutrition, Boston University, 1988

BS, Dietetics / Nutrition, Miami University, 1986

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