Health Care Professionals Give Thumbs Up on a Leadership Program to Train Them to Serve in Medically Underserved Communities
Coro Southern California evaluated its first Health Leadership Program, which trained 24 midcareer health professionals between June and November 2005 to work in medically underserved communities. Coro Southern California is a regional center of a national organization that promotes civic effectiveness.
According to the Evaluation of the Coro Health Leadership Program: Final Report, produced under subcontract by Community Partners:
- Some 78 percent of participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the program, especially its networking component.
- The networking component of the program was very successful and all of the participants expressed interest in maintaining contact with one another.
From July 2005 through June 2006, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) gave Coro Southern California an unsolicited grant of $45,926.
In June 2002, with a grant from the California Endowment, staff of Coro Southern California interviewed 50 prominent health care leaders in Los Angeles County and held roundtable discussions to assess trends in health care leadership. In June 2005, with guidance from a health advisory board, Coro Southern California launched the Coro Health Leadership Program with a class of 24 students.
Over a six-month period, the program provided leadership training to midcareer professionals, including doctors, administrators and clinic directors to work in medically underserved areas. The program provided periodically scheduled lectures, group project sessions and site visits to equip participants with practical skills, knowledge and personal relationships built around six key topics:
- Mapping the health care territory
- Safety net
- Recent industry issues.
It also matched participants with mentors. Funding was provided by the California Endowment, Health Net of the Northeast, Unihealth Foundation and others.
Founded in the late 1940s, Coro is a national organization that provides a range of fellowship and training programs to promote effective civic leadership. Coro Southern California is one of seven regional centers.
Coro Southern California subcontracted with Community Partners, which focuses on leadership development and training in southern California, to evaluate its Health Leadership Program.
Evaluators conducted in person and telephone interviews, surveyed participants before and several months after they began attending the leadership program, observed program activities, reviewed handouts and spoke informally with participants. They sought answers to three questions:
- What was the level of satisfaction among Coro students who completed the program?
- How did the structure and operations of the Coro Health Leadership Program influence project outcomes (such as acquiring knowledge; developing leadership capacity; implementing safety net projects; and networking)?
- What impact did the Coro Health Leadership Program have on participants and on the community?
Participants reported "overall high levels of satisfaction with the program," according to the evaluators. Among the key findings in the Evaluation of the Coro Health Leadership Program: Final Report, produced by Community Partners:
- 78 percent of participants reported that the program met their expectations and 80 percent said that the classroom lectures were useful and of high quality.
- Most students reported gaining greater knowledge of the Los Angeles health care system and recent industry trends after participating in the program.
- Some associates questioned the capacity of Coro staff to teach and model leadership and noted a lack of interactive activities to connect the leadership component of the program with the technical curriculum.
- About 80 percent of participants said that the safety net group projects, which gave them hands-on experience in building capacity to improve services to the community, were challenging and important.
- Only about half the participants felt their mentors were effective and helpful. Many encountered difficulties engaging and meeting with their mentors.
- Networking was very successful, and all of the participants expressed interest in maintaining contact with one another.
The evaluators recommended that Health Leadership Program staff:
- Revise and establish guidelines for program advisors.
- Create and implement more structured guidelines for the mentorship component of the program.
- Be clearer with staff about how the program will be administered and managed.
- Integrate the various program components so students can:
- Practice analytical skills, such as problem-solving.
- Have more opportunities for networking in small groups following classroom lectures.
- Consider developing and implementing an extended evaluation to measure the program's impact on the community.
- Revise evaluation methods.
AFTER THE GRANT
The Coro Health Leadership Program has continued, enrolling 40 students in 2008. Given the challenges to effective mentoring, Coro has suspended that component until it can develop more effective guidelines. To strengthen the program, the director, the trainers and health advisory board members now communicate in a more regular and structured fashion.
GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION
Evaluating a Leadership Training Program for Health Care Professionals Working to Improve Opportunities for the Medically Underserved in Los Angeles
Coro Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
Dates: July 2005 to June 2006
(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)
Community Partners, Inc., Division of Community Health, University of Southern California. Evaluation of the Coro Health Leadership Program: Final Report. Alhambra, Calif.: University of Southern California, May 31, 2006.
Report prepared by: Eve Shapiro
Reviewed by: Karyn Feiden
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Sallie Anne George