Georgia Impact Science & Technology Society & Culture

UGA Public Health Leadership Academy aims to create a culture of health in communities

Athens, Ga. – What do playgrounds, school lunches, vaccinations, sidewalks and wheelchair ramps have in common? They all contribute to a community’s ability to help its residents get healthy and stay healthy, sometimes called a culture of health.

At the State of Public Health Conference held at UGA on Sept. 10, UGA’s College of Public Health and J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development unveiled a joint initiative designed to engage community leaders in creating and sustaining a culture of health in their communities.

In announcing the program, Marsha Davis, director of the Public Health Training Center, said, “We decided to focus on engaging stakeholders from throughout a community in the idea of developing a culture of health. With the Fanning Institute’s focus on community and nonprofit leadership development, the institute is a logical partner in the development and implementation of this new initiative.”

“Through this collaborative program, we work with community leaders to understand how they can address an identified public health issue from multiple perspectives,” said Matt Bishop, director of the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development. “We recognize improving the health of Georgians and creating a culture of health will require a commitment from community stakeholders beyond the public health professionals. The academy will address leadership competencies required for building a collective approach to a culture of health.”

Communities may nominate teams of four individuals to participate in the 2015 Public Health Leadership Academy. In the application process, they should propose a local public health issue that they would like to address. The participant pool may include, but is not limited to non-profit, public and business leaders; professionals from multiple sectors including health, social work, psychology, ministry and education; as well as other community based entities that have an impact on factors that affect public health.

The one-year program will offer an array of experiential learning activities that includes six face-to-face multiday sessions, distance learning, discussions with subject matter experts and national public health leaders, support and peer networking, and the design of an applied project in each team’s respective community.

More information about the UGA Public Health Leadership Academy, including applications, will be available at beginning on Oct. 1.

The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development is a Public Service and Outreach unit at the University of Georgia. Dedicated to building a better Georgia, Fanning strengthens communities and organizations through leadership development, training and education. For more information about the institute, see

UGA College of Public Health
Founded in 2005 as a response to the state’s need to address important health concerns in Georgia, the UGA College of Public Health offers degree programs in biostatistics, disaster management, environmental health, epidemiology, gerontology, global health, health promotion and behavior, public health, health policy and management and toxicology. For more information, see