From the Management Academy Director

Public Health Business Planning is based on the Management Academy for Public Health curriculum. The book and the program culminate in the development of a business plan focused on a public health issue in a community. This year's Management Academy session included 2 cohorts of 9 teams from North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
Each of the teams developed their business plan throughout the nine-month program and then presented them to a team of business plan experts, public health professionals and their colleagues.
Here is a brief summary of the business plans:

North Carolina Teams
  • Wilkes County Health Department
The team developed an 8-week "Fun and Fit Family Health and Fitness Center" licensed summer day-camp for a maximum of 110 children. The day-camp will be offered to children entering kindergarten through eight grade, five days a week, with operating hours from 7:00am to 6:00pm. The children who attend camp and their families will then be supported through case management and educational sessions by a "Health Coach" throughout the rest of the year. The goal is to increase awareness of the importance of physical activity, good nutrition and family time in the prevention of childhood obesity.

  • New Hanover County Health Department
New Hanover County has several safety net options for medical care for the low-income uninsured, but there are not enough to meet the demand. At the same time, the number of low-income uninsured is rapidly growing, especially in this uncertain economic climate. As a result, too many low-income uninsured patients are using the emergency room as their primary care home. The team proposed a Primary Care Clinic at the New Hanover County Health Department, on the same campus as the emergency room at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. The Clinic will treat enough paying patients to subsidize the care of low-income uninsured patients, many of them likely referred from the ER. The Clinic will provide those patients a medical home, relieving the burden on the rest of the safety net.

  • Northwest Partnership for Public Health
The team, made of staff from four local health departments, proposed a project focused on a medical billing consultant who will provide services to local county health departments in northwest North Carolina. The consultant will be available to help with coding issues, billing problems, evaluations, consultations and training in various areas. Additionally, the consultant will be able to assist the health departments with credentialing with insurance companies and with third party billing.

  • Gaston County Health Department
The team developed a M.A.S.T. Program (Making a Successful Teen) that will provide specialized maternity and contraceptive services for Gaston County teens - tailored to their unique and complex needs. The services provided will include contraceptive services, comprehensive services, comprehensive prenatal services and education, periodontal screening and referral for dental health care. The program will operate using a model of comprehensive, interdisciplinary adolescent health care. The objectives of the program are to decrease the low birth weight percentage for infants born to teen mothers, increase the number of teens in Gaston County that initiate long-term contraceptives, increase percentage of teens in Gaston County that receive adequate prenatal care, increase the percentage of teens that remain in school during their pregnancy and have all program participants receive dental screening and treatment as indicated.

  • Wilkes County Health Department
The second team from Wilkes County Health Department developed a program entitled Wilkes Goes Green. The project is a recycling business. The business will reduce the amount of solid waste in the Wilkes County Landfill and generate revenue through the sale of recyclable materials.

  • North Carolina Division of Public Health
State and local public health departments experience an overall lack of formal education in public health, and therefore have deficits in core public health skills, including evaluation, epidemiology and statistics. Despite documented evidence of this problem, many state health departments lack funding and flexibility within the government system to ensure a competent workforce. The team developed a program entitled EpiSmart as a cost-effective, convenient, and targeted approach to training local public health department employees in core public health skills and on deliverables required for local health department accreditation. The goals for EpiSmart focus on increasing epidemiology, evaluation and statistics capacity, improving the quality of outcome and evaluation data, equiping local health departments for accreditation and providing an opportunity for peer-to-peer mentoring and learning in evaluation and statistics.

South Carolina Teams
  • South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
One of the South Carolina teams developed a worksite wellness program, "Wellness Works". The program will offer employees an opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle. The program will be offered four times annually at 12-week intervals with weekly follow-up with each employee during each 12-week period. The components of the program include a health assessment, with baseline health information, nutrition education with measurements of body mass index (BMI), walking program and the option of participation in a Weight Watchers program at the site defined locations.
By offering "Wellness Works", employees will receive information on the importance and benefits of physical activity, proper nutrition and weight loss/maintenance. The program will provide tools to empower employees to take responsibility for their health.

  • South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Youth obesity is a growing epidemic in South Carolina. Currently, there are no programs dedicated solely to eradicating obesity among children in Spartanburg. The two hospitals do not offer classes or outpatient services to overweight children. The Spartanburg County Health Department will offer "Stepping Up", a weight management program for overweight and/or obese children in the 10-12 year age group. The program will address physical activity, nutrition, and behaviors needed for a health lifestyle. The program will be motivational, hands on and fun-filled and is designed for improving fitness, nutrition and self-esteem.

Wisconsin Team
  • Milwaukee/Waukesha County Consortium for Emergency Public Health Preparedness
The team from the Milwaukee/Waukesha County Consortium for Emergency Public Health Preparedness along with local public health agencies will develop and implement a Quality Rating System (QRS) for licensed child care centers in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties. The centers will receive a rating score after the completion of an on-site assessment of their written plans or proof of their compliance in the areas of: communicable disease prevention, immunization rates and records management, staff education, emergency plans, and early childhood curriculum. Revenue will be generated by fee for services for trainings, plan development, record audits, onsite immunization clinics and selling home emergency preparedness kits.

For more information about the 2 selected Award-winning business plans, see

The site has the complete business plans posted for the Northwest Partnership for Public Health and the Milwaukee/Waukesha County Consortium.
Please take a look and let us know what you think.

Congratulations to all of the teams that have successfully completed their business plans and now the real work of implementation begins!


You know, one of the big challenges to entrepreneurs inside organizations is creating urgency... and that's a problem that the economic crisis has mitigated. People I'm talking with now are well aware of the urgency. Now we just need to manage it, harness it, use it! has an interesting take on the unemployment rate right now:

"Plenty of laid-off workers across the country, burned out by a merciless job market, are building business plans instead of sending out résumés. For these people, recession has become the mother of invention." Specifically, right now is when the tipping point seems to be happening: the mentality is changing from one of desperation to one of opportunity. From here on out, the little guys are going to be playing a bigger and bigger role in putting the economy on the road to recovery. [link]
You've heard a similar take from this blog, and from the UNC webinar on survival in a down market. Tomorrow's Public Health Grand Rounds will echo the point as well. This environment is creating opportunities at the same time it is causing havoc.

--Steve Orton

From the Management Academy Director

Recently, another Executive Education program at the NC Institute for Public Health completed its final retreat. The 2008-2009 Emerging Leaders in Public Health cohort completed their 9 month program in February 2009. The Emerging Leaders program is designed to prepare the next generation of public health leaders by identifying and training those individuals with the talent to serve in significant leadership capacities in the next decade.

One of the conference presenters was Keith Caver, the President of Caver Consulting in Charlotte, NC.
Caver shared with the participants information about the 9 Roles of Strategic Leadership:
  1. Navigator
  2. Strategist
  3. Entrepreneur
  4. Mobilizer
  5. Talent Advocate
  6. Captivator
  7. Global Thinker
  8. Change Driver
  9. Enterprise Guardian

It is interesting to note that in public health, there are usually few Strategists and Entrepreneurs in the field of public health. The characteristics of these Leaders include
  • Continuously looking beyond the current year
  • Perceiving what drives the business
  • Taking calculated risks to capitalize on emerging trends
  • Turning threats into business opportunities
  • Using financial data to help achieve successful business outcomes

The Management Academy for Public Health serves a unique mission to bring some of these more business type aspects to public health, so that we (as public health professionals) can strive for more sustainability.
I look forward to the upcoming Management Academy for Public Health graduation in 2 weeks and seeing the completed projects that showcase the Strategic and Entrepreneurial spirit of the public health professionals in North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin.