Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Melody Madlem

Second Committee Member

Dr. Amie Wojtyna

Third Committee Member

Dr. Katarina Mucha


Effective leadership practices among the public health field are critical in the process of influencing positive health outcomes across populations. While many competencies or skill sets that are needed of leaders to promote ideal public health functions have been identified and discussed in previous literature, there has become an arising need for evaluation of potential changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To do this, the Delphi research method was utilized through the implementation of a four-round questionnaire process to gain consensus among participating leaders in ten different Washington State Local Health Jurisdictions. The two main research questions of this study were 1.) What are the public health leadership competencies considered to be most important in Washington State Local Health Jurisdictions? and 2.) Have public health leadership competencies among Washington State Local Health Jurisdictions changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Findings included that the top five ranked public health leadership competencies identified to have changed and/or become more important because of the COVID-19 pandemic were: Communication, Collaboration, Community Partnerships, Strategic Skills, and Being Flexible/Adaptable. The response rate from Round One to Round Four was 83% while the overall level of consensus among this final list was 80%. In analysis, there have been both changes and increases in importance among public health leadership competencies from before the COVID-19 pandemic to present-day.

Implications for practice largely include the need for training, engagement, and practice among public health leadership surrounding the final five competencies from this study. Future research in this area is suggested to examine singular competencies at a time or use a different study design to understand these competencies further.

Included in

Public Health Commons