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The need for public health leaders has never been greater. Few practitioners in public health have doctoral-level degrees, and few doctoral programs focus on developing leadership skills specific to the public health arena. The DrPH degree offered at the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois Chicago provides comprehensive leadership training in all areas of public health, exposing students to the latest in research, practice, and theory.

This completely online program is tailored to mid-career public health professionals who want to expand their knowledge and practice of public health. With the flexibility to learn from anywhere worldwide, students in the DrPH program will join a stimulating community of peers and renowned faculty en route to an outstanding educational experience. Those who earn the DrPH will possess the skills to lead practice-based research, influence public health policy, effect change in health systems and institutions, and assume key roles in the public health community at local, national, and international levels.

Our vision is to build a cadre of dedicated public health leaders who can set strategic direction, drive transformational change, create responsive systems, and contribute to the evidence base of public health practice.

Christina Welter  |  Program Director

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DrPH approaches to address complex "wicked problems" Heading link

Equity Focused:

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A core principle of adaptive leadership recognizes that social structures all around us have historically evolved invisible but real institutional barriers that impair the ability of some population groups to enjoy the full benefits of health and equal participation in community life, and actively attempts to surface and confront these barriers in the course of problem-solving activities conducted by organizations and communities

Evidence Based:

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An approach to investigation into organizational or community challenges that draws on the tenets of science but maintains a pragmatic focus on experience-based problem solving to gather real-world data and employs systematic methods and critical thinking related to those who are directly experiencing the problem.

Adaptive Leadership:

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The collaborative approach to leadership that generates commitment by groups, organizations and communities to face and resolve complex challenges requiring significant change that rise above the usual management problems of everyday organizational life.

System Change:

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Requires systems thinking and involves the identification and transformation of multiple higher-level structures and practices needed to address the complexity of “wicked” problems faced by organizations and communities, which have resisted more conventional pragmatic or technical solutions.

New scholarship honors legacy of DrPH student Heading link

A new scholarship honors the memory of André Gilmore Stanley, a proud member of SPH’s 2016 DrPH cohort and a policy analyst for the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.  The scholarship focuses on equity and anti-racism, one of André’s focal points in public health.

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Read Our Newsletter Imagining 2021

DrPH faculty, student, and alumni impact on public health Heading link

Tina Tong photo.

In May of 2022, Tina Tong (2017 cohort) received the 2021 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Service.  This award is the second-highest honor award granted by the department and is conferred by the Secretary. No more than ten awards are granted annually. The award recognizes HHS leaders for their achievements and for inspiring others to improve their performance. As part of the COVID-19 Vaccine Project Coordination Team as the clinical co-lead for the AstraZeneca and Sanofi Ph3 vaccine programs, Tina was honored with this award. Tina also received a commendation letter from President Biden for her work on COVID vaccines. She also recently published new findings on the vaccine development experienced.

Feygele Jacobs photo.

Feygele Jacobs, DrPH (2012 cohort), was recently named the new director of the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health at George Washington University. Jacobs, formerly the president and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation, collaborated closely in establishing and developing Geiger Gibson Program.  Jacobs has a long and celebrated career in administration of health care programs and services for medically underserved populations, first as a hospital executive and later as a senior executive overseeing one of the nation’s first and most successful health center-led Medicaid managed care plans.

Adriane Griffin photo.

Adriane Griffin, DrPH (2012 cohort), is the new executive director of American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists. She aims to position the Academy as the premiere education society for the medical profession, from early career leadership development and networking to mentoring service for accomplished professionals. She is leading the organization’s strategic planning process and change management, building staff capacity to work with intention through intentional integration of reflection in their work.

Gwen Foster photo.

Col. Gwen Foster (2019 cohort) is the new senior medical advisor to Lt. Gen. Robert Irving Miller, Surgeon General for the U.S. Air Force. Previously, she served as the Air Force’s Defense Health Agency Sacramento market director and 60th Medical Group commander. She says her DrPH education is a key asset in her new leadership role with the Air Force at the Pentagon.  “I now have the words to systems thinking and organizational behaviors and, really, I was already doing the dance between the balcony and the floor, but now I can articulate to my team better what and why I am doing it and see that it impacts how I lead,” Foster said.