About the Leadership Institute

The North Carolina Public Health Leadership Institute is an intensive, nine-month leadership development program for state and local public health professionals in North Carolina.

Gain the essential skills of adaptive leadership. Adaptive leaders are able to anticipate complex challenges and can mobilize teams and organizations to adapt and respond to these challenges. They are comfortable making decisions, leading by example, inspiring others, challenging current operating assumptions, and leading diverse teams.

Participants in this program will learn the essential skills of adaptive leadership. The institute is an opportunity to reflect on your leadership journey so far and apply new knowledge and skills to grow into the leader you want to become.

Learn from the experts. Participants will attend virtual learning sessions with subject matter experts in leadership principles, communication, critical thinking, organizational change, and related topics. They will also attend peer coaching sessions led by course faculty.

Build connections with your peers from across the state. At the institute, up to 24 different public health leaders from across North Carolina will come together, share their challenges, build connections and learn from each other.

It’s a unique opportunity for state and local practitioners to meet each other. Past participants have found that breaking down silos and building connections with their state or local counterparts sometimes sparks unexpected and productive opportunities for collaboration.

Apply your leadership skills to real-world challenges. As part of the application process, participants will be encouraged to identify a challenge they want to tackle within their organization. During the institute, they will be able to apply their evolving leadership skills to this challenge, and as the institute concludes, they will have the opportunity to illustrate their approach to the challenge.

The 2019-2020 institute cohort.


Applications are open to any staff in a leadership, management or supervisory role who want to take their leadership skills to the next level. Past participants have included:

  • Health directors and deputy health directors
  • Division directors
  • Services directors
  • Administrators
  • Nurse directors, managers or supervisors

To be eligible to apply, participants should be employed by:

  • A local health department in North Carolina
  • The North Carolina Division of Public Health or Division of Child and Family Well-Being

Note: Past participants of the North Carolina Public Health Leadership Institute’s Leading With Equity programs (2021-2022 and 2022-2023) are eligible to apply for this year’s institute. The curriculum this year will focus on leadership principles; however, there is a chance of overlap in some of the activities or discussion topics. For more information, contact Course Director Ki’Yonna Jones at kiyonnaj@email.unc.edu.

Key Dates*

  • June 3-July 31: Applications accepted
  • August 21: Accepted applicants will be notified
  • September 12: Registration payments due by 5 p.m.
  • September 26: Welcome webinar
  • September 2024-May 2025: Virtual learning and peer coaching sessions
  • May 2025: Final session and graduation ceremony

*These dates may be subject to change. Please refer back to this page for updates.

Program Format and Expectations

The 2024-2025 institute will mostly convene virtually. The first session is likely to be in person (location TBD), and there may also be an opportunity to meet in person for the final session of the institute. (Once participants are selected, course faculty will coordinate with participants about scheduling.)

Participants will attend six virtual learning sessions and three peer coaching sessions led by course faculty.

Over the nine months of the program, participants should be prepared for a time commitment of approximately 40 hours for instruction and assignments.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete the online application form. The application must be completed in one sitting. A copy of the application questions (PDF) is available for applicants to review and plan their answers. There is a requirement to email a nomination letter within one week of the application submission. It is permissible to send the nomination letter prior to application submission and the team will match the application with the respective application once received.

Applications are due July 31, 2024.

For questions about the program or the application process, please contact Program Specialist Nedra Draughn at ndraughn@unc.edu.

Registration Fee

The registration fee for the institute is $495. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by August 21, and the registration payment will be due September 12 by 5 p.m.

What Past Participants Have Said

“Great program and would recommend to others. It challenges you to really look at yourself and identify areas where you need improvement and gives you the tools to do so. However, you have to commit to the program and the change — you get out what you put in.”

“Great learning experience for leaders. Sometimes it feels like people expect leaders to have all the answers because they are in the leader position, but the truth is we are constantly learning as we go. Great networking opportunity as well with leaders from across the state.”

“I hope that I have the opportunity to hear about the successful completion of the tenth cohort of the [institute] and how they have shaped the next big public health leaders of the nation.”

More Information

For more information about the institute, including the application process, curriculum and format, please contact Program Specialist Nedra Draughn at ndraughn@unc.edu.


The institute is jointly provided by:

  • The North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
  • The North Carolina Institute for Public Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Funding support is provided by NCDPH.

Email us at nciph@unc.edu.
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135 Dauer Drive
221 Rosenau Hall, CB #8165
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8165

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