AIM TeaM Energy Center collaborates with CHANGE to develop transformative leaders
MAKATI CITY, Philippines – In a bid to introduce a more engaging, collaborative and multi-stakeholder approach in designing and delivering health communication projects, the AIM TeaM Energy Center for Bridging Leadership conducted half-day sessions on Bridging Leadership for 77 public health professionals from around the country during the Communications for Communicators (C4C) Boot Camps held in this city on October 20-24, November 3-7 and 10-14, 2014.
The boot camps are part of a six-month training program called ‘Transformative Leaders in Health Communication’ (TLHC) managed by the C4C School – a body composed of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and partner organizations, namely, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School for Public Health - Center for Communication Programs, Department of Health (DOH), and the Asian Institute of Management’s Stephen Zuellig Graduate School of Development Management (AIM-SZGSDM). The said program aims to develop transformative leaders who will innovate on their health communication projects to increase the health-seeking behaviors of people in the communities especially in maternal health and child nutrition, family planning, adolescence and youth reproductive health, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.
Leading the discussions in the boot camps were experts in the fields of health communication, project management, marketing, and leadership. Dr. Benjamin Lozare of Johns Hopkins University discussed concepts of public health communication and gave emphasis to the role of transformative leadership in changing people’s behaviors. Yolanda Ong, Group Chairperson of Campaigns and Grey, and her colleagues discussed social marketing and emotional intelligence for health service providers, while Prof. Brenda Furagganan of AIM conducted lectures and workshops on program and project development and management. Lectures and workshops on the tenets and concepts of Bridging Leadership were delivered by Dean Juan Miguel Luz of the AIM-SZGSDM and the TeaM Energy Center’s Executive Director, Prof. Manuel De Vera.
These sessions on Bridging Leadership centered on the story of the Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning couple – Christopher and Maria Victoria Bernido. They are both accomplished Physicists who have had successful careers here and abroad but chose to manage the Central Visayas Institute Foundation (CVIF), a family-run elementary and secondary school, in the small municipality of Jagna, Bohol. They devised a new model for education called the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP) through which they engaged all local stakeholders and consequently improved the Institute’s quality of education.
One of the Center’s Bridging Leadership Fellows was also invited to speak during the Bridging Leadership Sessions. Dr. Alinader Minalang, currently the Provincial Health Officer of Lanao del Sur, shared how he set out to improve the quality of health services provided to the people and about the problems he encountered, such as the low life expectancy and high maternal mortality in the province. He shared how he engaged the government, the community, various faith groups and volunteers in his mission. His efforts resulted in the establishment of better-equipped PhilHealth accredited rural health units, a significant decline in maternal mortality and infant mortality rates, and the province being ranked first among all provinces in the Philippines in terms of measles and polio immunization coverage for 2014.
Both the stories of the Bernido couple and Dr. Minalang provided concrete examples on the application of the Bridging Leadership framework in the Philippine context and how it could be applied in the projects they are about to implement as part of the TLHC program. Dr. Minalang’s story was especially admired by the participants. As a public health champion, he has inspired them to believe that “all the learnings [in the boot camp are] not impossible to put into practice,” and that change in their respective communities remains possible despite the complex challenges.
The TLHC runs from October 2014 to April 2015. Other activities of the program include on-going mentoring sessions between the participants and the C4C Faculty, an upcoming mid-course conference in January 2015, and the participants’ graduation into becoming full-fledged transformative leaders for health communication in May 2015.