Crisis leadership: a case for inclusion in accredited Master of Public Health program curricula

Public Health. 2022 Aug;209:14-18. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2022.05.012. Epub 2022 Jun 21.


Objectives: To evaluate the exposure to crisis leadership theory already present in Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited Master of Public Health (MPH) programs in the United States and provide a compelling case for its future inclusion.

Study design: This was a narrative review.

Methods: We compiled a comprehensive list of 179 CEPH schools that offered an MPH program. During January through March 2021, we examined 179 websites for the core courses and elective courses offered in the MPH degree program to determine if any courses covered the topics of leadership, crisis leadership, or crisis management in either the course title or description.

Results: Leadership courses were available in only 55.31% of CEPH-accredited schools. Only a single program (0.56%) offers a crisis leadership course.

Conclusions: The current global COVID-19 pandemic and reality of climate-induced disasters have brought crises to the forefront for health systems. Successful leadership for the future requires public health leaders to have training in crisis leadership. The evaluation and revision of public health curricula must focus on leadership competency development to prepare graduates to lead complex multiple crisis events and system shocks simultaneously.

Keywords: Crisis leadership; Health resiliency; MPH curriculum; Public health leadership.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Pandemics
  • Public Health / education
  • United States