Intensive leadership development for state and local public health professionals

The North Carolina Public Health Leadership Institute is a year-long leadership development program for public health professionals from the North Carolina Division of Public Health and local public health agencies across the state. This program provides a unique opportunity for state and local practitioners to come together to network with each other, learn about adaptive leadership skills and apply those skills to a relevant challenge in their organization or community.

Past participants have commented that the leadership skills and abilities they developed in this program include: resilience, communication, collaboration, creating a shared vision and embracing change.

Application for Cohort III opens Feb. 18, 2019 - find details below.

“There is currently a tremendous need for quality public health leadership.  The best way to have success is to have the best leaders.” – Danny Staley

Cohort III: June 2019-June 2020

Key dates:

  • Application will be open Feb. 18-March 31, 2019
  • Accepted participants will be notified on May 10, 2019
  • Orientation webinar for accepted participants on June 25, 2019 from 10-11:30 a.m.
    (session will be recorded for those who can’t attend)
  • First in-person session Aug. 27-29, 2019 in Chapel Hill
  • Additional in-person sessions to be scheduled in Oct. 2019, March 2020 and June 2020

Program expectations:

  • Four required in-person sessions over the year
  • Monthly distance learning including webinars and peer coaching sessions
  • Applied learning project
  • Use of personal assessment tools to gain a better understanding of one’s leadership tendencies and preferences
  • Approximately 80-hour time investment

This program is open to local public health agency employees and those who work in the North Carolina Division of Public Health. Acceptance into the program requires some previous public health management experience, and preference will be given to those candidates with at least two years of management experience.


North Carolina Division of Public Health
North Carolina Public Health Association
North Carolina Institute for Public Health, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Faculty and staff

Vaughn Upshaw, DrPH, EdD
Professor, Public Health Leadership Program, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

For more than two decades, Dr. Upshaw has been supporting leaders and decision makers who are responsible for improving quality of life in their communities. As the founding director of the Association of North Carolina Boards of Health, she was instrumental in the establishment of the National Association of Boards of Health. Dr. Upshaw helps leaders more effectively lead and govern their communities. Her publications, research and teaching interests are centered on how to improve public health governance and leadership. Her experience includes work with local and state governments, academic health programs, and nonprofit organizations.

Jeannine Herrick, MPH
Program Director, NC Institute for Public Health, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Jeannine Herrick works closely with the Adaptive Leadership Core within the National MCH Workforce Development Center developing trainings and facilitating peer learning. Jeannine has a wealth of experience in program design and implementation, strategic planning, partnership development and donor relations. At the NC Institute for Public Health, she designs and conducts trainings on a variety of topics including strategic decision making, evaluation design and implementation, communication and messaging, and effective training skills. Jeannine provides technical assistance to a variety of state and national partners conducting assessments, evaluation, and facilitating strategic planning and change management sessions.

Brianah Williams, BS
Program Assistant, NC Institute for Public Health, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Brianah Williams is a Program Assistant at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings Global School of Public Health. She provides support to NCIPH training and technical assistance activities including fee-based continuing education courses and events, as well as grant and contract supported activities that help support capacity-building at NC public health agencies. Brianah also provides support to course directors and coordinators by collecting data relevant to educational programs including written evaluation data and oral feedback from training participants. Additionally, Brianah provides overall administrative support and general communications for a number of programs including NC PHLI.

Registration and fees

There is a program fee to participate – details coming soon.*
*Travel expenses are not included in the registration fee.

The application process for the next program will open in early 2019. Sign up for our monthly training email to receive updates.

More information

For more information about the application, program, schedule or curriculum, contact NCIPH staff Brianah Williams or  Jeannine Herrick.

Read what last year's participants said about NCPHLI

"It transformed me as a person and gave me hope that I can be a great leader despite all the odds."

"Leadership is more than a title, but a way operating regardless of your roles and responsibilities. This program allows you to focus on your strengths and allows you to value the strengths of others. It requires you to be proactive and for the most part is self-paced. You will have access to wonderful faculty who are passionate about improving skills, process, and ability. They believe in intentional approaches to problem solving and transformation with a people first attitude."

"To be able to see the same leadership challenges with different backgrounds makes it personal to me. Everyone always thinks that their position or job is unique to everyone else's yet the leadership challenges are similar." 

"I had no idea what to expect. This cohort has been a great group and I feel I have learned so much from each of the participants as well as from the instructors. I must say Vaughn is the perfect faculty for this course. Her experiences, presentation style, insight, honesty and feedback has been invaluable to me."