Kingsborough Community College to Host Health Leadership Conference

June 19, 2008 | Kingsborough Community College

Conference is designed to reach, rouse and ready future public and community health leaders

Dr. Regina Peruggi, president of Kingsborough Community College, today announced that the college will host a day-long health leadership conference Friday, June 20. The conference is titled “Finding your Inner Leader – An ‘Aha!’ Conference to Reach, Rouse and Ready Future Public and Community Leaders,” and will be held in the Marine Academic Center Playhouse.

“The primary goal of this conference is to inspire current practitioners who haven’t yet considered taking on a leadership role to seek out leadership training and experience,” said Dr. Karen Denard Goldman, conference chairperson. “The demands of public health leadership are extensive and leadership recruitment — not just the training of current leaders — is critical.”

Based on the vision and drive of its many pioneers, public health has made enormous contributions to the quantity and quality of human life worldwide. Since the turn of the century, life expectancy has increased by 30 years. Five of those years are attributable to improved medical care. The remaining 25 are attributable to improvements in the standard of living, including population-based health measures. To maintain this momentum, new leaders must be developed to take up the reins. This is especially important given the average age of 46.6 for the public health workforce; retirement rates as high as 45% on the horizon; a current vacancy rate of up to 20% in some states due to hiring freezes related to budget cuts; low salaries; turnover rates of 14% in some part of the country; lack of qualified candidates; and a reluctance of personnel to relocate to areas of the greatest need.

Health crises as well as daily challenges require strong health leadership. Leaders are needed to deal with the “new normal” (Bailey, 2006): daily predictable threats such as chronic diseases; environmental threats and injuries, and being prepared to respond to emergencies such as pandemics, food-borne illnesses, natural disasters, terrorism, and emerging infectious diseases. Continued success in the ongoing struggle for health equity among vulnerable and marginalized populations who suffer disproportionately from infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other major health problems requires an ongoing infusion of new knowledgeable, passionate, and committed health leaders.

In addition to managing traditional (core) public health programs and services, and developing a strong public health infrastructure to support state, local, and federal/national public health systems, future public health leaders must be able to plan for and respond to new security risks including nuclear, biological and chemical threats as well the pressures of an ever-aging population and ever-increasing health disparities.

“Finding the courage and the personnel to lead with this health forecast is a challenge Brooklyn recognizes and is addressing,” said Dr. Peruggi. “Now is the time to identify front line health workers with leadership potential and help them prepare to successfully step, jump or be catapulted into leadership roles at the committee, task force, project, work unit and department levels.”

Conference speakers include Nicholas Freudenberg, distinguished professor of Urban Health at Hunter College; Ruth C. Browne, CEO, Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health; Yvonne Graham, assistant to the Brooklyn Borough President , Sergio Matos, director for CHW Training and Development, Columbia University and Young Lee, director, Training & Development at Coney Island Hospital.

In response to requests by previous conference participants, this year’s conference offers sessions for current community leaders who are uniquely poised to provide support to current and future health leaders and to receive the support they need to improve the quality of life in their communities. A special certificate will be awarded to community leaders who attend a specific series of morning presentations. In addition, in special afternoon sessions, current and future diabetes specialists will learn about diabetes leadership opportunities, challenges, and requirements in a variety of roles such as education, patient management, coalition building, fundraising, advocacy, community organizing, and more.

The conference is co-sponsored by Kingsborough Community College’s Program in Community Health; the Greater New York Society for Public Health Education; and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office. Dozens of community-based organizations, health care and professional organizations, colleges and universities, and other groups are supporting the conference.

Seven hours of professional continuing education credits for certified health education specialists are available, and all participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

On site registration is available at www.kingsborough.edu/inner_leader or contact conference chair, Karen Denard Goldman, kgoldman@kbcc.cuny.edu or 718-368-5716.

About Kingsborough Community College:
Kingsborough Community College, one of the top ten community colleges in the country, is located on a 70-acre campus in Manhattan Beach, on the southern tip of Brooklyn. It was founded in 1963 and serves approximately thirty thousand students per year, offering a wide range of credit and non-credit courses in the liberal arts and career education, as well as a number of specialized programs. The breathtaking Kingsborough Community College campus overlooks three bodies of water: Sheepshead Bay, Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
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Contact: Ruby Ryles
Kingsborough Community College
718-368-5543