20th Anniversary of the CDC Sustainable Management Development Program

Posted on by Elizabeth H Howze, ScD, CHES

Elizabeth HowzeSeason’s Greetings! As we come to the close of 2012 and embrace 2013, I wanted to reach out and let you know that CDC has reached an important milestone in training global health leaders. We’re celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Sustainable Management Development Program (SMDP) — a program that CDC developed in 1992 to assist ministries of health in low- and middle-resource countries strengthen their health management systems.

To kick-off the 20th Anniversary celebration, we hosted a webinar on December 11th and invited all of our graduates from the Global Health Leadership Forum (Forum) and the Management for Improved Public Health (MIPH) to join the webinar and share their experiences. I was so pleased to see that graduates from all over the world participated in the webinar and shared powerful stories about how the Forum and the MIPH program have been of value in helping them make sound decisions as they progressed in their careers.

Since SMDP’s beginnings, CDC has worked with countries to develop leaders and managers with the expertise to manage wisely, attract and retain highly skilled health workers, and invest financial and human resources effectively to improve health outcomes.  I’m truly amazed by how much we have been able to achieve.

The Forum was established in 2010 and is designed for senior and executive level leaders from ministries of health and other health-related organizations with a mission of improving human and/or veterinary public health issues in their respective countries.  The first week of the Forum is held in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2011, the Forum was expanded to include 2 days in Washington, D.C., interfacing with Congressional and Executive Branch staff who facilitated seminars on U.S. health policy and practice. The Forum complements CDC’s long-established MIPH training program which was launched two decades ago to provide mid-level public health managers with advanced training in project management, process improvement, and performance management.

Over the years, the Forum and MIPH initiatives have continued to expand and have been successful in assisting senior leaders create comprehensive goals, objectives, and strategies for health systems strengthening in their respective countries. Working together with ministries of health we have assessed their management capabilities, created more efficient use of health resources, and advanced the use of evidence-based, practical management and leadership tools and approaches. These steps have improved accountability, enhanced organizational performance, and strengthened competencies in epidemiology, laboratory, surveillance, and outbreak response management.

For the past 20 years, CDC has affirmed that global health advances are built on a foundation of leadership that includes technical expertise, as well as good management, leadership, and organizational skills.   I am pleased that the data is showing positive results from our investments in many countries. 

Highlights are as follows —

Highlights of Strategic Management and Leadership Capacity Building Accomplishments (1992 – 2012) 

  • Prepared future health leaders by training over 425 fellows from more than 70 low- and middle-income countries around the globe
  • Established 7 independent country management and leadership training programs, which have trained more than 3,000 health managers
  • Provided training and tools that country stakeholders have used to improve the prevention of mother-to-child transmission outcomes in hospitals in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region (e.g., increasing the percentage of infected mothers delivering in a medical setting from 23% to 56%, and the percentage of infected partners being tested for HIV/AIDS from 13% to 51%)
  • Developed, in partnership with the Moroccan Ministry of Health, a first-of-its-kind, degree-based, 2 year program of learning through service in public health management
  • Provided technical assistance and training to senior leaders and manager in many countries including: Azerbaijan, Botswana, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia
  • Provided management capacity building training and technical assistance in Botswana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Vietnam in coordination with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in order to improve program outcomes such as:
    • Reduced turnaround times for HIV/AIDS patients’ viral load tests;
    • Increased number of persons enrolled in voluntary counseling and testing programs;
    • Reduced long waiting times for hospital and clinic services;
    • Increased adherence to opportunistic infection prophylaxis; and
    • Improved quality of HIV/AIDS counseling services.

In the years ahead, SMDP’s goal is to continue to work with ministries of health and other partners to make even better use of limited global health funding by improving management and leadership for epidemiology, laboratory systems, surveillance and response, as well as communicable and non-communicable disease program performance.

As I reflect on our past and look toward the future, I’m very grateful to CDC and Dr. Michael Malison for founding SMDP in 1992 with a goal of complementing CDC’s family of international capacity-building programs in epidemiology and laboratory science. Through his vision and leadership SMDP quickly became an international leader in public health management capacity development and has won awards for excellence and innovation from the International Association of Continuing Education and Training and the Ford Foundation.  I’m also thankful to all of our global partners including other US Government Agencies, the World Health Organization, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), and the George Washington University for their commitment to and support of the work we do.  I especially want to thank the ministries of health around the world for the trust they have placed in us.  Without their support and collaborative spirit the impact we have made would not have been possible. 

I invite everyone to tune in to one of our webinars through our partner TEPHINET’s platform at www.TEPHINET.org.  I also invite you to visit our website and learn more about SMDP’s activities including the upcoming panel discussion on Why Leadership and Management Matter in Achieving Global Health Goals, January 16, 2013, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., http://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/SMDP/

Wishing you good health!

Posted on by Elizabeth H Howze, ScD, CHESTags , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 comments on “20th Anniversary of the CDC Sustainable Management Development Program”

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    Congratulations to SMDP on 20 years of work in this crucial area. Effective management and leadership are an essential element of any successful public and/or global health initiative. Best wishes to the program.

    Dear Dr Howze,
    As one of the beneficiaries of the SMDP and now the Director of the Nigeria Centre for Diseas Control, I wish to congratulate you and your team for a wonderful job and service to humanity. The SMDP has contributed immensely to the great progress made in Public Health by many countries that benefitted from this programme. An example of these is Nigeria.

    Following your tutoring and mentorship by the US CDC Nigeria country office, we have been able to establish an impressive Field Epidemiological and Laboratory Training Programme named NFELTP and which is tailored to strengthen public health capacity in Nigeria. This programme which commenced in the year 2008 has trained 105 Nigerians and currently has the largest programme among countries with FETP. it is also the first to embrace the “one health” principle as it has both human and animal health officers as intakes. The current cohort has 43 trainees that are active in class and in the field. Thirty three out of 36 States and FCT of Nigeria now have at least one resident and the trainees have investigated and responded to 73 outbreaks between 2008 and 2012. For example, residents were engaged in response to the famous lead poisoning, rabies, cholera, cerebrospinal-spinal meningitis, lassa fever, measles, diphtheria and mumps outbreaks among others.
    Most interesting is the role played by this programme in our polio eradication campaign via the Nigeria Stop Transmission of Polio (NSTOP) programme. This programme is being implemented with the highest level of efficiency.
    The NFELTP is currently operating under the umbrella of the NCDC which is giving it all the independence it requires to meet international standard. Our NFELTP is a fundamentally field-based programme with the main goal of building public health capacity through service delivery. We are collaborating closely with AFENET AND TEPHENET and we participate actively in all the conferences.
    It is important that I mention that the William Foege Award for outstanding public health abstract for the year 2012 was won by a Nigerian NFELTP participant at the EIS meeting in Atlanta.
    I conclude by once again expressing our gratitude to US CDC and the US Government for extending the hand of friendship to us in the low and middle resource countries. I am a beneficiary of the CDC Leadership training and I use what I learnt to improve public health in my country.


    Congratulations to you and SMDP staff on your success and all best wishes for your continued efforts in 2013!

    Brian Robie

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Page last reviewed: May 11, 2021
Page last updated: May 11, 2021
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