Developing leaders in public health at inaugural IANPHI Leadership Academy

IANPHI Academy Session
March 9, 2015 

Allison Greenspan & Christina Craig

“The seed has been planted; let us help make sure it grows,” said Dr. Mwele Malecela, IANPHI Vice President and director of NIMR Tanzania, in concluding IANPHI’s inaugural 2-part Leadership Academy in Dar es Salaam on February 11. 

Session 2 of the Academy, which built on the activities of Session 1 in Mozambique in November, fostered a new community – 28 IANPHI Heymann Fellows – with the network and knowledge necessary to strengthen their current and future leadership roles. With faculty mentors that included senior leaders from IANPHI member institutes in Sweden, Nigeria and Mozambique, Session 2 included interactive workshops on risk communication, conflict management and leadership styles.

The 28 Heymann Fellows (including those from NPHIs in Kenya, Malawi, Cote D'Ivoire, and Somalia, among others) were selected for their professional excellence and personal dedication to building public health capacity and saving lives in their countries. Many have already applied Leadership Academy skills successfully. Dr. Adedeji Adebayo, from Nigeria’s NCDC noted: “The training I received during the IANPHI Leadership Academy has reduced the stress I have in my workplace, and led to enhanced output by my organization. This feat has been achieved through the recognition and appropriate deployment of individual staff’s leadership styles coupled with a blend of delegation of work, time management, effective communication, active listening and prioritization of activities,” skills which are all key parts of the Leadership Academy training.

Professor Oni Idigbe, former director general of Nigeria’s NIMR, who served as an on-site mentor for both sessions, has seen the positive effects of the training for the Fellows from his institute as well. He sees potential for the Leadership Academy to become an integral part of training of future public health leaders in Africa, and noted that “efforts to sustain the [Leadership Academy] are most appropriate and needed at this time, as it will help build a critical mass of scientists with adequate leadership skills in Africa in the immediate future.”

Led by Dr. Sue Binder, IANPHI’s Senior Advisor for Public Health Practice, Session 2 provided additional content and practice on leadership styles and time management, and introduced new skills and tools including situational leadership and risk communication to further enhance leadership development. Other senior mentors included Dr. Sarah Wamala, former director of the Public Health Agency of Sweden, who – at the request of participants -  led a session on gender equity in the workplace. Mr. Marcus Jönsson, director of human resources for the Public Health Agency of Sweden, facilitated a session on negotiation skills. 

For Dr. Shahd Osman, of Sudan's PHI, completing the Leadership Academy has fostered the development of important leadership skills among Sudan PHI staff. She explained that "we'd like to grow more, and the IANPHI Leadership Academy gives us opportunities to collaborate, meet other public health institutes, and share experiences." Both Dr. Malecela and Professor Idigbe strongly advocated collaborations and partnerships among the participating ‘cohort’ of emerging leaders and their institutes, to strengthen public health research and service delivery in Africa.

Leaders who completed the IANPHI Leadership Academy were recognized as Heymann Fellows, in acknowledgement and honor of the continuing contributions of Dr. David Heymann and IANPHI’s Heymann Mentorship Program


2014 IANPHI Leadership Academy Session Information 

Application for the 2014 IANPHI Leadership Academy Session 

2014 IANPHI Leadership Academy Session

2014 Session Facilitators Sue Binder Sarah Wamala Ed Baker Mr. Marcus Jönsson

2014 - 2015 Scholars

Leadership Academy Mission

For further information, please contact: Allison Greenspan, IANPHI-Atlanta,