Emerging Public Health Leaders in Minnesota Build Confidence and Skills

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Synopsis of the Work: Turning Point: Collaborating for a New Century in Public Health, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, defined its mission as to "transform and strengthen the public health system in the United States to make the system more effective, more community-based and more collaborative." The two foundations partnered to support 22 states and 41 local communities in those states. RWJF also supported five National Excellence Collaboratives that allowed states to work together on important public health infrastructure challenges.

Story Told: Kristin Schultz, the assistant director of a local public health department in rural Minnesota, was tired of always trying to do more with less and overwhelmed by the challenges of working in public health. She was thinking about leaving the field.

Then she applied to Minnesota Turning Point's Emerging Leaders Network. Participating in the training program was a professional and personal turning point for Schultz.

Fawzi Awad, another "graduate" of the Emerging Leaders Network, worked at the Environmental Health Section of the Ramsey County Department of Public Health, helping to protect the environment in Minnesota from hospital hazardous waste. Managing the waste required compliance with complex local, state and federal regulations, and collaboration with the state's hospitals.

Awad knew that he needed a collaborative approach to lead the committee developing a hazardous waste management plan for Minnesota hospitals. "To accomplish our task we would need to find ways to encourage everyone to do their part on this huge issue," said Awad.

He said that participating in the Emerging Leaders Network gave him the skills and tools of collaborative leadership that he needed to guide the committee.