Public Health and Academic Partners Team Up to Increase Diversity in Public Health Leadership

March 24, 2021

ARLINGTON, VA—The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse School of Medicine are announcing a new leadership program, Diverse Executives Leading in Public Health (DELPH).

With initial funding from CDC, DELPH will recruit mid-to-senior-level governmental public health professionals from underrepresented groups in public health leadership and support learning, networking, and professional development opportunities to grow a cohort of leaders nationwide. This program is committed to ensuring a well-prepared workforce of public health professionals, including practitioners who reflect the diversity of the jurisdictions they serve.

This new program is a partnership between ASTHO and SHLI and will increase and strengthen participants’ visibility and exposure within public health systems, access to key networks and leadership opportunities, and more. Program participants will be selected from experienced public health professionals who self-identify from an underrepresented group including people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals.

The expertise of SHLI will be extremely valuable to the DELPH program curriculum design and implementation. “ASTHO and SHLI share a common vision to advance health equity and have come to realize the vital role leadership plays in achieving optimal health for all. We are elated to partner with ASTHO to create the DELPH Program,” says Daniel Dawes, JD, SHLI Executive Director.

“This work is critically important to ASTHO as we have long embraced diversity, equity, and inclusion as one of our core values and seek to address equity across the public health system,” says Michael Fraser, ASTHO CEO. “Developing cohorts of leaders who learn together, share best practices, and support each other as professionals will advance the field and our members’ work of addressing health equity and assuring optimal health for all Americans.”

The first DELPH cohort will launch in Fall 2021, with an inaugural cohort of women of color. This program will serve as a compliment to ASTHO’s ongoing leadership development programs for state and territorial health officials and their executive leadership team members. The work is being advised by a diverse group of national experts and public health leaders, including several former state health officers and ASTHO alumni.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.