Inaugural IANPHI Leadership Academy launched in Maputo

February 11th, 2015 marked the closing of the second session of the inaugural 2014-15 Academy. Hosted by the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, it brought together current and emerging NPHI leaders from 11 African countries. 

The first session held in Maputo, Mozambique on December 5th, 2014 launched the IANPHI Leadership Academy – a two-session, skills-based training initiative made possible by the generous support of the Swedish National Institute of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Leadership Academy provides NPHI executive teams with tools and strategies to advance personal and institutional leadership development.

The Academy is targeted to NPHIs in Africa, whose directors were asked to nominate two- or three-person teams to participate. The aim is to foster excellence and best practices in leadership through experiential learning. 

Hosted by Mozambique’s National Institute of Health and its director Dr. Ilesh Jani, Session 1 focused on personal leadership styles, using the DISC assessment tool. The session’s interactive seminars and group activities allowed participants to gain self-awareness and understanding of their leadership styles, understand the contributions of each style to a group’s performance and the work environment, and learn to adapt styles for more effective and productive communication and interaction. Attendees embraced the opportunity to explore leadership styles using the DISC tool, and engaged with enthusiasm in the workshop’s many hands-on, participatory activities.

The training was designed by Dr. Sue Binder and Allison Greenspan (IANPHI-US Office) and facilitated by Dr. Binder, Dr. Sarah Wamala (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden), Marcus Jönsson (Public Health Agency of Sweden), and Professor Oni Idigbe (Nigerian Institute of Medical Research). Dr. Jani also joined the group, advocating for collaborations and partnerships among the participating cohort of emerging leaders – the ‘future of public health in Africa’ – to galvanize and invigorate public health research and service delivery on the continent.

The second workshop in the series of two – scheduled for February 2015 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and hosted by the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and its director, Dr. Mwele Malecela – will focus on ‘leading outward.’ In the short time between sessions, the attendees will have the opportunity to stay engaged via a web forum arranged by IANPHI’s US Office.

Overall, the Session 1 participants applauded the content and approach of the training, and many provided anecdotal reports on the skills and confidence they have already gained from their time in Maputo.  Dr. Joseph Kibachio from Kenya, said, “The training in Maputo was awesome. I learned so much and have hit the ground running… can’t wait for February.” Others echoed this sentiment, including Professor Oni Idigbe from Nigeria, who noted, “I was particularly impressed with the interactive nature of the sessions and the total involvement of both the facilitators and the participants. We are all looking forward [to the next session] and hoping to be better leaders.”

To acknowledge and honor the continuing contributions of Dr. David Heymann and IANPHI’s Heymann Mentorship Program, leaders who complete the IANPHI Leadership Academy will be recognized as Heymann Fellows. 

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