194321 Can public health leadership training improve social capital within a decentralized system?: A five year assessment and review

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:30 PM

Suzanne R. Hawley, PhD, MPH , Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Shirley A. Orr, MHS, ARNP, NEA-B , Office of Local and Rural Health, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, KS
Theresa St.Romain, MA , Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Craig A. Molgaard, PhD, MPH , School of Public and Community Health Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Today's public health workforce struggles with funding and staff shortages and increased preparedness responsibilities. Social capital, or a sense of connectivity and partnership that leads to the development of shared goals, provides a means for addressing these challenges. Public health agencies in the rural state of Kansas depend on social capital to accomplish essential services, but efforts to foster this concept have not yet been quantified.

The Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute (KPHLI) has implemented a social capital pre/post assessment to quantify the impact of KPHLI training on social capital within the state's public health systems. This assessment poses questions dealing with such issues as group membership within KPHLI, as well as KPHLI impact upon qualities that help participants succeed as public health practitioners (e.g., trust, support, empowerment, sharing, skill enhancement). The assessment was completed pre and post training by 107 scholars in the KPHLI's first five training cycles. Data were analyzed using Wilcoxon paired t-tests in SPSS/PC 15.0.

Following year-long KPHLI training, scholars reported statistically significant increases in social capital-related areas such as: ability to collaborate, conflict resolution abilities, empowerment and action, beneficial professional connections formed, and beneficial effect of training on professional life. In addition, scholar judgments of the ability of KPHLI faculty, scholars, and capstones to enhance their professional position increased significantly.

Leadership training by the KPHLI fosters quantifiable increases in characteristics of social capital. These characteristics are essential for public health systems to cope with increased workforce demands and prepare for accreditation.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the concept of social capital as it relates to the public health workforce. 2. List statistical methods for quantifying the social capital impact of public health leadership training.

Keywords: Health Education Strategies, Leadership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I co-founded and have co-directed the Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute since its inception. I co-developed the social capital instrument upon which this study is based. I am a graduate of the National Public Health Leadership Institute and am a current RWJ Executive Nurse Fellow.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.