259: Training for Diverse Public Health Pros

Jill Miller, Interim Deputy Director, Family Health Services, Alameda County Public Health Department, shares how she learned new leadership skills as a scholar in ASTHO’s Diverse Executives Leading in Public Health program; ASTHO surveys digital...

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Jill Miller, Interim Deputy Director, Family Health Services, Alameda County Public Health Department, shares how she learned new leadership skills as a scholar in ASTHO’s Diverse Executives Leading in Public Health program; ASTHO surveys digital tools agencies used to conduct contact tracing investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic; a pair of training modules is available to help ASTHO members learn to visualize data and incorporate quality improvement into planning processes; and you can sign up to receive ASTHO’s legislative alerts via email.

ASTHO News Release: ASTHO Announces Next Cohort of Diverse Executives Leading in Public Health

Public Health Reports: Digital Tools Adopted by Public Health Agencies to Support COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

ASTHO E-Learning: Data Visualization for Performance Improvement Learning Series

ASTHO E-Learning: Quality Improvement Learning Series

ASTHO Legislative Alerts

ASTHO logo



This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Friday, September 9th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.



First of all, I just wanna say my experience with DELPH was excellent. It was beyond what I imagined.


Jill Miller talking about her experience as a scholar in ASTHO's Diverse Executives Leading in Public Health program.


Those of us who are middle or senior management level in public health leadership, the program is focused on not just, you know, leadership tools and strategies, but also about self-awareness as a whole person. We learn a lot about our leadership styles. This program offers opportunities for networking. It also teaches us how to network, which I think is really important.


Miller works in public health in California. She was in the program's inaugural class of scholars. Now, ASTHO is launching a second cohort even bigger than the first, this one hosting 28 students working in 20 jurisdictions across the states and territories.

Miller says the program will help them grow in many ways.


So, you're assigned an executive coach who walks through a lot of the assessments that are conducted early on. We do leadership style assessments to learn, you know, what are your strengths? We look at personality style—what are some of the areas of strengths and growth based on just who you are as a person?

And so, your executive coach creates your own personal plan for you as a leader in the work that you're doing. And then, they guide you through that as well, but also offering up their suggestions and their wisdom as well.


Miller recommends the program to anyone listening because, in her case, it led to a new job.


I got the courage to apply for the position that I'm now holding as the family health service interim deputy director position, and without DELPH I don't know that I would've put my hat in the ring.


Read ASTHO's news release about the launch of the second cohort using the link in the show notes.


Public health agencies had to be creative to deal with pandemic challenges. Sometimes that meant trying new tools. O'Keyla Cooper has more.


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, public health agencies used several novel digital tools and systems to enhance case investigation and contact tracing efforts. A page in SAGE Journals explains how ASTHO reviewed the decisions these agencies made as they considered other ways to use existing tools and how to adopt and deploy new ones. Find a link to the full report in the show notes.



Also this morning: making data more visual can be tough for agencies just happy to have information to guide their work, but ASTHO's Heidi Westermann says doing so can lead to more powerful outcomes.


So, data is really central to both quality improvement and planning. And how you use that data to talk to your partners, to engage with stakeholders, to tell your story, is challenging. It can—sometimes it's easy, but often there are skills we can improve to better tell that story with data.

And data visualization is part of that, making it a picture and not just words, not just a table, or an Excel file, but actual visuals that help people engage with the data and make good decisions for public health.


Westermann says ASTHO will show you how to visualize data in a series of training videos, now available online.


There are about less than 15 minutes each, and you can really listen, see, and then click for more information as the other parts of the module unfold. My second favorite thing is that in the QI learning series, we have four participants from different island jurisdictions share how they use these tools. And so, to hear it in their own words, to see a real life example at a health department, is pretty powerful.


There's also a set of videos explaining how to incorporate quality improvement into the planning process. You can find a link to both modules in the show notes.


Finally today, ASTHO Legislative Alerts are the best way to follow public health action on Capitol Hill—they're delivered to your email inbox when news happens. You can sign up using the link in the show notes.


That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back Monday morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great weekend.

Jill Miller PsyD

Interim Deputy Director, Family Health Services, Alameda County Public Health Department

Heidi Westermann MPH

Director, Performance Improvement, ASTHO