From the Management Academy Director

This year, the Management Academy for Public Health begins its 11th year. The 54 participants represent North Carolina, Nebraska and Virginia. Upon graduation, this group will join over 1050 public health professionals who have completed the Academy, gained valuable management skills and in some cases, went on to fully implement their business plans.

This year's cohort is focused on a variety of important health issues for their communities. Through their Community Health Assessments and the MAPP process (Mobilizing Action through Planning and Partnerships), they are aware of the problems in their communities. Even though most teams are in the preliminary stages of determining their specific business plans, they have already started preparing their general ideas to develop a sustainable business plan.

The current list of topics include: Increasing vaccination rates, establishing a community health center and developing plans to address mental health services, health data analysis, occupational health, diabetes, teen pregnancy, access to primary care, substance abuse and the need for more school health nurses.

In order to develop a viable business, participants learn valuable business skills. During the on-site retreat August 3-6, the faculty spent a lot of time imparting tips related to businesses outside of public health. Frequently, Management Academy participants say "We are not a business; we are public health".

What do you think are some of the best and worst characteristics of a business organization and why do you think some participants are unwilling to accept attributes of businesses outside of public health?