Our program, offered on-campus and online, will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead teams, projects, organizations, and systems in local and global communities. The curriculum fosters relational skills needed to co-design systems with community partners in order to identify and prevent problems, mitigate and eliminate inequities, and improve and advance health outcomes. Leadership MPH students gain skills and expertise in systems and design thinking, evidence-based problem-solving and decision-making, and community engagement and conflict management strategies. Graduates of the Leadership in Practice MPH students are equipped to mobilize change at the community level to advance equity and social justice, address underlying conditions that affect individual and population health, and innovate to improve the social determinants of health.

What You’ll Learn

As a student in the Leadership in Practice concentration, you will gain the skills to:

  • Use critical-thinking, design-thinking and system-thinking to solve problems.
  • Advance knowledge using evidence-based research and practice-based evidence.
  • Mobilize others in order to strategically align organizations and systems and accomplish large-scale change.

Career Opportunities

Hosted by the Gillings School’s Public Health Leadership Program, the Leadership in Practice concentration is designed to support professionals at all areas of public health practice, at every level of their leadership journey whether they are entry-level public health practitioners, public health executives, or someone in between. As a graduate of this concentration, you will be well-equipped to move into a variety of roles commensurate with your level of work experience.

The next generation of public health leaders needs to build strong relationships, not only with members of their own team but also with leaders from other sectors, political parties and disciplines. Skills in public health leadership are needed at every level in clinical, community-based and workplace settings, and hiring new talent with fresh perspectives is a priority for nongovernmental and governmental clinical and public health organizations.

Upon graduation, you will be prepared to:

  • Step into leadership roles in which you may work with multidisciplinary leadership teams, governing boards and system partners.
  • Work as a program or organizational manager responsible for supervising teams that focus on complex research or community and interorganizational collaborations.
  • Serve as a team leader or in a project management role in local, state, national and international public health organizations and industries.

Learn more about the opportunities that await you with an MPH from the Gillings School.

Required Courses

In addition to the interdisciplinary, 14-credit Gillings MPH Core, you will take:

  • PUBH 718: Designing Systems for Global Health Implementation
  • PUBH 730: Leading Quality Improvement in Public Health
  • PUBH 748: Leadership in Health Policy for Social Justice
  • PUBH 781: Community Engagement and Leadership in Health
  • PUBH 791: Core Principles in Public Health Leadership
  • PUBH 992: Leadership in Practice MPH Culminating Experience

Concentration Competencies

This program will empower you with the knowledge and skills to achieve the following core competencies:

  • Prioritize public health values and ethics in a philosophy of leadership relevant to adaptive public health challenges.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills to promote a compelling public health agenda.
  • Facilitate inclusive engagement and collaborative decision-making across professions and with diverse stakeholders to lead in public health practice.
  • Design transformational systems and innovative approaches to ensure effective public health practice.
  • Integrate research and practice-based evidence to continuously improve the quality of public health practice.
  • Develop structures of accountability to promote good governance and stewardship of resources to improve population health.

Requirements and Sample Plan of Study

Leadership in Practice Degree Requirements and Study Plan (PDF)

Ready to Apply?

Visit our Apply page for more information.

Looking for more flexibility?
Explore the online version of our Leadership in Practice concentration by filling out the form below.


Want to learn more?

Kristen Hurdle, MEd
Admissions Coordinator

Joe Jacobs, MS
Academic Coordinator

Concentration Leader

Vaughn Upshaw, DrPH, EdD
Public Health Leadership Program