Online Program

Systematic reflection: A key skill in public health doctoral level leadership development

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 8:40 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Patrick Lenihan, PhD, MUPP, Executive Director, Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago, IL
Christina Welter, DrPH, MPH, DrPH Program, Univ of Ill at Chicago, School of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Reflection has been long identified in the literature as an important leadership skill. However, few leadership development programs, especially those in public health, place a great emphasis on teaching reflection. As a “soft” skill, operationalization is difficult. While it might be mentioned in the leadership development curriculum, reflection is seldom covered in any depth compared to some of the more commonly mentioned leadership elements such systems thinking, visioning, team building, and communication.  Yet, reflection underlies all of these more commonly emphasized leadership skills.

In recognizing this, the University of Illinois, School of Public Health  DrPH Program has explicitly focused on building skills of systematic reflection integrating, this important leadership skill into its curriculum in the core courses, student portfolio, and dissertation. The Program has captured the activity of systematic reflection in a iterative multi-step process of critical questioning, searching for evidence, and testing assumptions, Six of the nine core courses build basic skills in learning and applying systematic reflection to a variety of leadership situations. Students hone their skills through required journaling and in course assignments and projects.  

Students demonstrate a mastery of systematic reflection, first  through the critical examination of their leadership development in producing a portfolio of relevant  academic and professional experiences. Finally, systematic reflection is again demonstrated in the dissertation proposal as students apply this skill in identifying an adaptive challenge and extracting from it a researchable problem which will be the focus of their dissertation research.

Development evaluation results show this approach to be effective

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the value of systematic reflection in leadership development Identify the steps in a systematic reflection process Discuss how systematic reflection can be integrated into a DrPH curriculum

Keyword(s): Leadership, Curricula

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Director of doctoral level public health leadership development program and lead instructor in leadership development courses. Extensive experience at the leadership level in public health practice both locally and nationally. Clinical Associate Professor at the UIC School of Public Health.
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.