Category: MCH Leadership Competencies 3.0: Self: Self-Reflection

Authentic Leadership: A Coach-Approach to Inspired Public Health Leadership


Authentic Leadership is a 6-month distance based program that takes place over the phone and through an online discussion board.   It builds emotional intelligence and develops authentic leadership capacity by focusing on strengths, values-based decision-making and goal-setting, authenticity, vulnerability, courage/risk-taking, and self-care/happiness as they relate to leadership.  What is unique, special, and strong about you?  How do we support you to develop and express your unique leadership style so that you can bring yourself and your passion into your work?  Using this framework, leadership is a very personal and life-long journey and may include aspects of any number of a wide range of leadership theories.

Authentic Leadership is a tried and true, sustainable leadership development program designed for maternal and child health and public health professionals at all stages of career and life development.  The program was first delivered by the UIC MCH Program in January 2010.  The program focuses on whole life leadership.  Depending on individual participant needs, each individual helps to design the program to create an ideal environment for personalized leadership development.  The program includes monthly full group calls; monthly, individual coaching sessions with a professional leadership coach; triad calls, and much more.   Group learning is applied at the individual level therefore participants may include a range of experience levels.  In the past, participants have included students, emerging leaders, mid- and senior-level professionals, and professionals transitioning into retirement.    Interested individuals complete a short application and submit a 1-2 page Letter of Interest.  The program begins twice yearly in January and July. 



Program Leaders

Kris Risley, DrPH, CPCC,, 312.996.2875

Hanna Cooper, MPH, CPCC,

Teri, Conrad, MBA, CPCC,

Anne Kellogg Reed, CPCC,

Application Deadline: Monday, November 12, 2012.  All materials including the Interest Form and answers to application questions should be mailed to the attention of Kris Risley, MCH Program, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1603 W. Taylor Street (MC 923), Chicago, IL 60612; faxed to: 312.996.3551, or emailed to  If you have questions please contact Kris at or 312.996.2875.

Notification of Program Acceptance:  Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Program Start Date:  Friday, January 11, 2013

Program End DateFriday, June 28, 2013


Program Fee:  The program fee is $2400/person and is due to the MCH Program prior to the start of the program.  Checks can be made payable to the University of Illinois and mailed to Kris Risley, MCH Program, School of Public Health, 1603 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612


Time Commitment:  On average, a person will spend between 3-7 hours/month working on this program.  However, this is not ‘work’ that is designed to add stress to an already overburdened workload.  The work of this program is different.  It is about you.  It is designed to support your work efforts so that you feel more leader-like, satisfied, engaged, content, hopeful, inspired, rejuvenated, alive, and certain of your ability to improve public health.

Registration Open – July 2012 MCH Leadership and Legacy Retreat

July 22-24, 2012

Hyatt Lodge, Oak Brook, IL

 Leading in Challenging Times: Innovations & Inspiration

Please consider joining us this summer for the 5th annual UIC MCH Leadership, Legacy, and Community Retreat.  This year’s retreat is exciting! Our focus is on Leading in Challenging Times; however, we will not talk about this concept in ways that you may expect. We will begin with sharing personal stories of our journey and work with women, men, children, and families. Dr. Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association for Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) will lead us in this process. We will continue to connect with one another through a building common ground exercise followed by a thought-provoking discussion about what motivates us!

During the rest of the Retreat, we will explore and practice various leadership concepts including challenging the assumption that these are indeed challenging times. Change is ubiquitous. Everything is always changing and today these changes are happening at an increasingly rapid pace across all aspects of our lives: the economy, the environment, technology, public health, medicine, music, leadership, etc. As we continue to move forward in ever-changing times, what do we know and do in this day and age to support ourselves, each other, the environment, the economy, and the work to which we have devoted our lives?

We will explore a process that will turn our thoughts about leadership upside down. This will be followed with work about managing change as change is a primary leadership challenge we all face. Finally, we will conclude the program with work on the core act of leadership which involves changing the typical conversations in which we engage so that we can ultimately experience the positive outcomes for women, men, children, and families that we all desire!

The leadership training will be facilitated by Dr. Stephen Bogdewic, PhD, Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Many of us have had the honor of working with, learning from, and being inspired by Dr. Bogdewic. He is an innovative, thought leader. He is connected with the human spirit and our core desires to make an impact. He has taken what he teaches and implemented it in practice to help change the face of the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Click on the following link to view the agenda.

*Please note the event starts on Sunday



Professionals: $325 (early registration ends on 07/06/2012) or $425 (late registration)

Students: $150

Click on the following link to register.


For more information visit our website.

A Student’s Journey to DC for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) Annual Conference

Anne Cutler, Arden Handler, MCH students, and LEND trainees advocating at Mark Kirk's office for Title V programs and funding

Attending the annual AMCHP conference was a great experience for me.  As students, we were able to network and learn a lot, even by the first day!  On Sunday, I had the chance to see the official kick-off of the conference.  The first general session we attended was on the topic of the life-course model, which was led by Dr. Arden Handler and Amy Fine. We also had the opportunity to hear about how Indiana and Rhode Island were applying the life- course model to their state-level MCH programming. Later in the afternoon, we attended the welcome session with lectures from the newly appointed associate administrator of MCHB, Michael Lu; AMCHP’s director, Michael Fraser; and the John C. McQueen memorial awarded, Gail Christopher. All three talks were wonderful.  It’s great to hear from and also become familiar with the faces of the key leaders in our field. Along with this, I attended an adolescent health session about teen pregnancy prevention and a networking event for new conference participants where a fellow student and I got to meet the Title V Director of Texas. This was a great opportunity for me to apply my knowledge from our CHSC 511 MCH Systems course in order to understand the work that he was doing and maybe, even impress him a little!

Viewing the new Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in DC

The following day,  Dr. Handler invited students to go with her and members from the Illinois LEND program to advocate in Senator Dick Durbin’s and Senator Mark Kirk’s offices.  We advocated not to cut funding for the MCH Title V programs, as well as the LEND program.  This was a very unique experience for me because we all had the opportunity to speak to the Senators’ aids about what we are doing, how our programs are so valuable to us, and what impact these programs have on MCH populations.  Later that day, we attended the Region 5 meeting (which includes IL, WI, MI, MN, OH, IN) during lunch where we discussed hot topics among our states and other business-related issues that needed to be addressed.  Additionally, I went to an adolescent health session, where the first section was presented by a representative from Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) about a bill they are advocating for regarding comprehensive sex education in the state of Illinois.  This was great to see Illinois leadership at the conference and also see a particular focus on our home state.  The second section of the presentation was about a preconception health program implemented in North Carolina.  When listening to the speaker,  I found myself somewhat choked up by the examples of how students have felt so empowered to be given the opportunity to do program activities, such as create a reproductive life plan.  I think this is an excellent and successful MCH program.

On Tuesday, AMCHP also had a specific session about advocating for MCH programs specifically in our current times with reduced budgets and spending.  This was very useful for me and other students, especially as we are nearing graduation in May.

AMCHP also set aside additional time that afternoon for groups to go to the Capitol and speak to their respective representatives and senators. I thought this was a great way to develop a concrete skill in maternal and child health practice, as well as test my knowledge and understanding of maternal and child health issues.

All in all, attending the AMCHP conference was a great experience for me as a 2nd year graduate student at UIC.  I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go.  I think the biggest thing that I learned was how state leaders go about promoting maternal and child health programs, as well as providing an array of successful programs for MCH populations in their state.

By Elizabeth Bennetts, 2nd year MCH-MPH student

2nd Annual Making Lifelong Connections Meeting

Thinking Inside the Box

This past January, I had the opportunity to attend the 2nd Annual Making Lifelong Connections meeting in Orlando. Making Lifelong Connections is sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and is designed to bring together current and former MCHB trainees to enhance their professional connections across the MCHB training portfolio and to enhance their leadership skills. The meeting was coordinated by the University of Florida and the University of Wisconsin Pediatric Pulmonary Centers. The planning committee encouraged us to ‘Think Inside the Box’ and be inspired by our connections and what others are doing to improve the physical and mental health, safety and well-being of women, men, children, and families.

In this 2-day meeting, we had the opportunity to learn about the various MCHB-funded training programs (LEAH, LEND, PPC, Nutrition, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Leadership Education in Child Health Nursing, SPH, and the Pipeline Programs) and to connect with amazingly talented people who are working and training in these various programs and areas of MCH. We were also inspired to reflect on our own leadership through a focus on servant leadership, self-care, and career development.

Perhaps the most compelling part of the meeting was having the opportunity to listen to a large number of trainees in the various programs present their research, projects, and programs. We heard talks about early intervention, stress and coping in fathers whose children have autism, family-centered care, transition, postpartum depression, adolescent feelings of hopelessness, fertility, smoking cessation, cyberbullying, and disaster preparedness for children with special nutrition needs (to name just a few). The meeting was filled with people who really care about making our country healthy and safe for all. With all of these efforts, there is no doubt in my mind that we can make a difference!

All-in-all, it was quite inspiring to hear meeting participants talk about their work and lives, to see how my work fits into the bigger MCH picture, and to feel like I belong to a larger effort or movement, if you will, to improve the health and well-being of our nation’s women, men, children and families. I left the meeting feeling connected with other like-minded folks, grounded in my decision to pursue a career in MCH, proud of my status as ‘former MCHB-funded trainee’ and excited about my work in an MCHB-funded training program helping to develop new MCH leaders and support current MCH leaders.

By Kris Risley, DrPH, CPCC, Continuing Education Director and Clinical Assistant Professor for the Maternal and Child Health Program, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago



MCH Seminar–Self-Care: Practical Ways to Move from “Should” to “Good” Habits

On February 23, 2012 Nikki Lively a Clinical Social Worker in the Women’s Mental Health program in the Department of Psychiatry at the UIC Medical Center gave a presentation about self care.  The workshop covered key obstacles to healthy self-care, and provided tips and experiential exercises that participants could choose from to build their own customized “tool kit” for taking care of themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.


Click here  to download the powerpoint presentation and the handouts

Click here to download the audio recording of the workshop (please note that the first 40 minutes of the 90 minute presentation was not recorded. We apologize, but we experienced some technical difficulties)


Relevant Links:


“The operative word is “practice”.  Practicing self-care is not the path of least resistance; it is a conscious choice you make again, and again, and again…” ~ Nikki Lively


UIC MCHP Retreat Keynote Speaker: Dr. Stephen Bogdewic

This year at the UIC MCH Retreat the leadership training will be facilitated by Dr. Stephen Bogdewic, the Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development at the Indiana University School of Medicine.  He is an innovative, thought leader. He is connected with the human spirit and our core desires to make an impact. He has taken what he teaches and implemented it in practice to help change the face of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Learn more about Dr. Bogdewic by reading a couple articles that he wrote or listening to his radio show Sound Medicine.



Coaching in the Federal government.

Hi All.

Here is a link to a nice article about the use of coaching in the federal government.

Time Spirits and Cultural Transformation

On Friday, October 14, 2011 the UIC MCH Program in collaboration with the UIC LEND program, the Mid-America Public Health Training Center (MAPHTC), and the Wisconsin Pediatric Pulmonary Center (UW PPC) sponsored a day-long Cultural Diversity training at the UIC School of Public Health.  Typically, I do not participate in events that I am involved in planning; however, I did have the time to participate in this one.  I learned more about how Time Spirits are shared cultural constructs/beliefs that we share from any era of history and that continue to have an impact on us and our society (ie, slavery, Jim Crow laws, women’s experience of not being allowed to vote/own property/work outside the home, etc.).  I learned that -isms (racism, ageism, genderism, and some other -isms that we created words for [positionism, visualism]) are fueled by Time Spirits!

During this training, the 30 diverse participants explored four -isms (positionism, visualism, ageism, and genderism) and discussed how others discriminate against us using these forms of -isms and the impact this has on us both personally and professionally. I was in the visualism group with many others of different races/ethnicities and it was so interesting to be part of this small, diverse group sharing this common form of discrimination.  We talked about how just showing up invites people to discriminate against us (or at the very least try to make up all kinds of stuff about us simply by how we look and how this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts).  I’ve been dealing with this most of my life so I know there is quite a bit of healing for me to do in this area.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to realize just how painful this has been for me and to experience in a new way the tremendous impact this has had on me and my life path!

We then spent some time looking at the ways in which we individually discriminate against others – not an easy discussion!  This was another huge learning opportunity which gave me the chance to re-think how I want to show up in the world!  Again, so grateful for the learning.  Personally, this gives me a stronger foundation of understanding and more courage to do what has been in my heart for a long time!

Finally, we explored our ‘locus of control’ or where we might be able to use this work to influence our own behaviors and work and interactions and where we might have some sort of positive influence.  We also discussed where it was probably going to be impossible to have any influence.  My take-away message is that I will work where I can have some influence and trust that these baby steps are impacting systems but that it will take time to see systems-level changes (even though I trust they are happening)!  And, by the end of the day, I reconnected with old School of Public Health Colleagues and new colleagues to start a grass-roots effort to impact the culture in our own School of Public Health.  This was an unexpected outcoome!  All-in-all, a very productive, healing, and hopeful day!

**NOTE:  We invite other attendees to share their stories.**

Written by: Kris Risley, DrPH, CPCC,  MCHP Continuing Education Director & Clinical Assistant Professor

Photo: Bekeela Watson, MPH , MCHP Graduate Education Coordinator and Kris Risley (right to left)

A Space for Learning, Growing, and Feeling Inspired

Participants discussing “Commitment” within MCH Leadership during a group activity

As a volunteer, I had the opportunity to participate in the Maternal and Child Health National Leadership Retreat this summer.  The theme was “Leadership, Legacy, and Community” and throughout the three-day retreat, it became very clear how this truly prospers.  There was an intentional focus on intergenerational connections, especially in learning from one another in our leadership and practice, discussing the current issues we face in government, in academia, and in the field, and from this, passing down the torch of the maternal and child health profession—with integrity, enthusiasm, and sincere trust.

This was extremely unique and unlike any other conference, workshop, or retreat I had been to before.  The theme of community also took shape, not only in the daytime group activities, but in the evening social gatherings.  I remember sitting around a small wooden table with key MCH leaders (such as Dr. Arden Handler and Amy Fine) eating refreshments and hearing invigorating stories, over and over, about their past successes in public health policy and even how they happily landed themselves in MCH leadership.  This was inspiring to me and also a helpful guide, in knowing that I’m only beginning this journey.

Along with this, the retreat had a focus on building a “Community of Practice” and emphasized collaboration and genuine exchange across the “different lands,” as we called it, within MCH work (i.e. government officials; faculty and staff in academia; students in academia; practitioners in the field).  Everyone had something to contribute to the overall community and would help to improve the health and wellbeing of maternal and child health populations, just in a variety of ways.

In conjunction with building a community of practice, there was a particular focus on discussing the life-course perspective throughout the seminars.  I think it was valuable to tie in this perspective because we are at a pivotal moment in maternal and child health—with rising health care costs, increasing health disparities, and overwhelming amounts of chronic disease.  Through discussions of this perspective, it became obvious that this could help frame our necessity to expand services, adjust programming to critical time periods throughout the life-course, and thus enhance the health potential of communities throughout the U.S. and improve overall health equity.

Mike Fraser, speaking about MCH advocacy

One of my favorite lectures during the retreat was by Michael Fraser (Executive Director of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs).  With humor and charm, he spoke quite clearly about the need for us, as public health leaders, to advocate for MCH populations within our daily work.  Especially in a time of budget-cuts and high unemployment, we each have a part to play in the policy-making process.  Fraser described advocacy as a combination of education and “urging action.” It wasn’t something scary, overwhelming, or just what the policymakers do.   It is within our leadership competencies and our public heath agenda.  It requires a deliberate investment with our time, our money, and our voices.

Overall, the retreat was a wonderful experience for me as a graduate student still in training.  It helped me to reflect on my own leadership skills and how I can contribute to the overall success and future of maternal and child health field.

by Jessica Barnes, 2nd Year MCH-MPH Student


If you would like to view pictures from the 2011 retreat click here.



Language Tips

Hi all! I was recently introduced to this blog on Language Tips.

The blog includes Weekly Language Usage Tips on grammar, spelling, usage, and other issues relevant to formal writing.  This is a great resource for all of us students and professionals who do any formal writing – papers, reports, IRB applications, grant applications, manuscripts, etc.  If interested, you can sign up to receive their weekly emails or you can link to it as often as you like from our blog roll!