Dr. Stephen N. Orton

Stephen Orton, PhD

Senior Fellow, Public Health Leadership
North Carolina Institute for Public Health
Core Lead, Change Management
National MCH Workforce Development Center
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management


Steve is an educator, working primarily with leaders and managers in public health organizations to develop skills and lead organizational change. He is lead author of Public Health Business Planning: A Practical Guide (2008) and has contributed to a number of collaborative workforce development projects at the school since 1994, including the Executive Program for Developing Countries; the Management Academy for Public Health; Preventing Violence through Education, Networking and Training (PREVENT); the National Public Health Leadership Institute; the Caribbean Health Leadership Institute; Leadership Novant; and the National MCH Workforce Development Center.

What he learns doing leadership work nationally, Steve brings home to North Carolina. He teaches in the undergraduate degree program in Health Policy and Management, and he can often be found teaching or facilitating at AHEC-sponsored sessions for local public health groups across the state.

Honors and Awards

Provost Award for Outstanding Service to North Carolina
2004, UNC-CH

Representative Courses

Capstone Course for Undergraduate Program (HPM 697)

Public Health Concepts in a Systems Context (HPM 611)

Research Activities

Business planning, public health leadership and management, strategic planning, systems dynamics, organizational development, organizational change, collective impact, communication, conflict and negotiation

Service Activities

Youth Community Project (Carrboro NC)

Carolina Villages

Key Publications

Reframing Leadership Development in Healthcare: An OD Approach. Cocowitch V, S Orton, J Daniels, D Kiser.  (2013). OD Practitioner, 45(3), 10-18.

Primary prevention of violence against women: training needs of violence practitioners. T Coyne-Beasley, M Hoehn, S Martin, M Mathew, S Orton, L Royster, C Runyan (2009). Violence against women, 15(1), 44-56.

What to do when the hospital calls. S Orton, J Porter (2013). Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP, 19(3), 274-7.

Practicing management and leadership: vision, strategy, operations, and tactics. E Baker, S Orton (2010). Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP, 16(5), 470-1.

Management academy for public health: creating entrepreneurial managers. J Johnson, S Orton, J Porter, K Umble, S Zelt (2007). American journal of public health, 97(4), 601-5.


  • PhD, English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1998
  • MA, English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1990
  • BA, English, The Colorado College, 1984