MPH Leadership

Drive Large-Scale Change Across Disciplines

The critical work we do in public health can’t be done alone — we need to develop integrated solutions in concert with other professional sectors and the populations we serve.

The Master of Public Health (MPH) Leadership concentration gives you the strategic and specialized skills you need to work with communities right now. We’ll teach you how to enact large-scale change that spans disciplines, challenges inequities and promotes health for all.

“We come together to work across disciplines on complex, systems-level problems. We work domestically and globally to affect the things that people really care about. This is what the next generation of the public health workforce really needs.”

Vaughn Mamlin Upshaw, DrPH, EdD
Professor, Public Health Leadership Program
Concentration Lead, Leadership In Practice

The MPH Leadership concentration is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). As a student in the MPH Leadership concentration, you’ll learn how to:

Prioritize public health values and ethics in a philosophy of leadership relevant to adaptive public health challenges.

Demonstrate effective communication skills to promote a compelling public health agenda.

Facilitate inclusive engagement and lead collaborative decision-making across professions and diverse stakeholder groups.

Design transformational systems and innovative approaches to ensure effective public health practice.

Integrate research and practice-based evidence to continuously improve the quality of public health practice.

Develop structures of accountability to promote good governance and stewardship of resources to improve population health.

MPH Leadership Curriculum

The MPH Leadership curriculum is designed to help you realize your full potential as an informed leader and an effective problem solver.

  • The Gillings MPH Core (14 credits)
  • Practicum Courses (1 credit)
  • Leadership-specific Courses (15 credits)
  • Electives (9 credits)
  • Practicum Work Experience (200 hours)
  • Culminating Experience (3 credits)

Once you’ve completed your MPH Core courses, which focus on foundational public health principles and frameworks, you’ll begin concentration-specific training:

  • PUBH 718: Systems and Design Thinking for Public Health Leaders
  • PUBH 730: Leading Quality Improvement in Public Health
  • PUBH 748: Leadership in Health Policy for Social Justice
  • PUBH 781: Community Engagement and Leadership in Health
  • PUBH 791: Core Principles in Public Health Leadership

Strategy Meets Expertise: How We Shape Leaders

Guided by faculty from diverse areas of public health, our leadership training model focuses on two complementary skill sets:

Specialized, in-depth public health skills in areas like global health, biostatistics, applied epidemiology, health policy research, health equity, nutrition sciences, health behavior, environmental sciences, and maternal and child health.

Strategic, broad-based leadership skills in areas like conflict resolution, change management, data analytics, problem solving, diversity and inclusion, policy and advocacy, systems thinking, and community engagement.

Our goal is to equip you with a systems-level perspective of the public health landscape. Through curricula, fieldwork and research, we’ll show you how to break down complex public health problems — and how to solve them by addressing root causes, not symptoms.

This concentration is also available on-campus. For more information on our residential offering, please visit the Leadership in Practice homepage.

Explore a Growing Public Health Job Market

MPH Leadership graduates apply their knowledge in community-based and clinical settings as well as at every level of governmental and nongovernmental organizations. They’re also prepared to work in any public health discipline, from maternal and child health to epidemiology to biostatistics.

Some are stepping into their first public health roles; others are pursuing senior management or executive-level positions. Depending on their level of experience, their duties include supervising complex research or projects, facilitating interorganizational collaboration or partnering with multidisciplinary teams.

“One of the things I found myself thinking about when working with patients was the systems that got them to the hospital in the first place. [MPH Leadership] is about addressing root causes and it’s about addressing inequities — the gamut is very broad.”

Askia Dunnon, MD
MPH Leadership Student | September 2018 Cohort

The versatile nature of our graduates’ skills makes them a natural fit for a wide variety of careers — including professions that are expected to grow over the coming years. From 2020–2030, employment of health care occupations — including medical and health services managers, social and community service managers, and health educators and community health workers — is expected to grow by 16%.1

Example Job Titles

  • Process integration manager
  • Public health nurse
  • Physician
  • Dentist
  • Veterinarian
  • Clinical trials coordinator
  • Environmental health coordinator
  • Public health educator

Example Employers

  • Government agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Local health departments
  • Colleges and universities
  • Hospitals and health care systems
  • Research and development firms
  • International health agencies
  • Nongovernmental organizations

See the Big Picture. Make a Big Difference.

Advancing health for all isn’t optional — it’s the fight of our lives. Request information to learn more about the work we’re doing in the classroom and on the front lines of public health.

I’m Ready to Lead

1 Healthcare Occupations (2022) Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed July 22, 2022. arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference