Management Matters: The Link Between Management Capacity Building and Greater Global Health Security

IMPACT’s Eight Core Competencies

Over the course of their training, fellows build expertise in IMPACT’s eight core competencies:

  • Program Planning and Management
  • Communication
  • Community Partnership Development
  • Analysis and Assessment
  • Organizational Leadership and Systems Awareness
  • Basic Public Health Sciences and Practices
  • Budget and Financial Planning
  • Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Response

These competencies are largely consistent with the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals for U.S. Schools of Public Health and were established by the Council on Linkages between Academia and Public Health Practice.

When we think about the most effective ways to stop outbreaks and improve health, we don’t always think of managers. Skilled managers are critical to keeping the public health engine running smoothly. Without them, resources can be wasted, emergency responses are less efficient, and everyday health systems can falter. A strong health system in any nation rests upon its ability to manage all of its available resources – technical, human, and financial – and to use these resources to create meaningful improvements in population health.

In this era of global travel and trade, the health of the American people is closely tied to the strength of health systems outside our borders. Well-managed systems are stronger against outbreaks. This is why CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection reaches out to help countries train better managers through the Improving Public Health Management for Action (IMPACT) program. IMPACT is a core part of CDC’s effort to combat global disease threats.

Why we need better managers

By improving everyday outcomes while ensuring that systems are strong enough to quickly respond to serious disease threats, skilled public health managers can improve health within their borders and reduce the likelihood of diseases spreading to other nations. An effective manager can look at existing systems through different lenses and translate scientific knowledge into successful action in all facets of public health.

Better management can:

  • Help allocate scarce resources – such as time, money, and people – more efficiently;
  • Ensure that funds are spent on activities that work;
  • Help educate and motivate people when their behavior needs to change to contain the spread of disease;
  • Create systems that mobilize more quickly to curb emerging health threats; and,
  • Have a cascading effect across public health programs and activities, resulting in greater global health security.

IMPACT’s goal is to create a cadre of highly-trained public health managers in partner countries who can work alongside scientists to implement public health programs that prevent disease, as well as to prepare for and respond to threats.

A hands-on model for success

IMPACT uses a learning-by-doing model to create success. Fellows spend about 25% of their time in the classroom, learning through interactive sessions and case studies. After completing each course, they return to assigned field sites where they spend the remaining 75% of their training learning on the job and receiving.

guided mentorship and supervision. Fellows quickly learn how to become the “hub of a wheel,” skilled in quickly responding to public health needs by deploying various “spokes” of the public health system (e.g., epidemiology, health education) to tackle them.

IMPACT’s learning model is unique and highly effective in three specific ways:

First, its competency-based approach to instruction is well-suited for adult learners, focusing on practical application of skills for immediate use in the workplace.

Second, the IMPACT team works closely with partner countries to tailor and contextualize the program. This process takes into account each country’s priorities and cultural dynamics to develop fellows who are best ready to act in their particular health system.

Third, the program focuses on building capacity in all parts of the public health system, as government public health systems serve the largest segment of the population. Health systems strengthening is focused on both sub-national and national levels to ensure that capacity exists beyond just urban settings and capital cities. This serves to strengthen the entire health system and ultimately has greater impact on population health.

Where is IMPACT?

The IMPACT program currently operates in Kenya and Bangladesh and is launching in Cambodia later this year. The program plans to expand to new countries over time.

To learn more about the IMPACT program, please visit our website: