Course Descriptions

First-Year Course Description

In this course, students will gain an understanding of the challenges of leadership. At the end of this course, the student should:

  • Understand the intrinsic qualities necessary to be a leader, such as emotional awareness and the ability to self-manage
  • Understand the difference between leadership and management
  • Understand what leads to leadership failures
  • Understand how ethics defines leadership
  • Be able to apply basic principles of finance and business management
  • Gain an understanding of systems theory
  • Gain an understanding of strategic planning and how to align an organization’s vision and goals accordingly
  • Understand the importance of communication skills and negotiation essentials and apply conflict-management techniques
  • Understand the importance of the concept of cross-cultural care
  • Gain a better understanding of the importance of self-care and explore personal beliefs and values in an effort to develop outstanding oral health leaders

Course Details

Year One

Duration 9 months
Time 4 hours per month, Friday 8:00 am to noon
Concept Familiarize student with relevant literature; explore case studies (instructor-developed cases as well as real-time personal cases); bring in local experts to discuss topics.


1. Self As Leader
➢ Emotional self-awareness
o Reading own emotions and recognizing impact
o Accurate self-assessment-knowing one’s own strengths and weaknesses
o Self-confidence-a sound sense of one’s own self-worth and capabilities
➢ Self-management
o Transparency-displaying honesty and integrity
o Self-control-keeping disruptive emotions and impulses under control
o Adaptability-flexibility in adapting to changing situations and overcoming obstacles
• Reading: Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Golman

2. Adaptive Leadership
➢ Defining leadership
• Reading: Leadership Without Easy Answers, Ron Heifetz
• Guest speaker: Giovanna Negretti, MPA

3. Negotiation
➢ Negotiation essentials
• Reading: Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher
• Guest speaker: Carol Weinrib, MPA

4. Communications
➢ Communicating for action
➢ Managing difficult conversations
• Reading: Difficult Conversations, Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen
• Guest speakers: Jeffrey Kerr, cofacilitator

5. Conflict Management
➢ Mediation models
➢ Negotiating peace

• Reading: Mediating Dangerously, Ken Cloke
• Guest speaker: Len Marcus

6. Systems Theory
➢ Organization/External awareness
o Organizational theory
o Systems dynamics
• Reading: The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge
• Guest speaker: Robert Hanig (worked closely with Peter Senge)

7. Strategic Planning and Alignment
• Readings: Various articles
• Guest speaker: Gary Gottlieb, MD; John Howe, MD

8. Cultural Awareness
➢ Cross-cultural care
➢ Cultural competence versus cultural awareness

• Reading: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman
• Guest speaker: Alex Green, MD

9. Self-Care—Part of an intensive one-day workshop
➢ Creating sanctuary
➢ Mind, body, spirit integration

o Noticing exercises (i.e., a silent lunch); visioning your life (values and beliefs)
o Bringing it all together-tying it to the earlier lectures/readings
• Reading: Leadership On the Line, Heifetz and Linsky
• Guest speaker: Dr. Ginny Whitelaw

For Students Selected to Continue in Leadership Track

Year Two

Designed for a maximum of six students, self-selected with encouragement from the faculty.
Each will be assigned a leader to shadow for five hours per month. Subsequent to each shadowing experience, students will write a report about what they observed drawing from the leadership theories they have been studying. The report will be reviewed by the faculty. On a monthly basis in a four-hour session, the students will report on their experiences to the group, followed by group discussion. Once every two months, one of the six candidates will be expected to present a leadership challenge that they witnessed or experienced. Faculty will consist of members of the advisory panel, as well as others to be invited.

Year Three

Six students will take on an internship. This internship can be local, national, or international, with the goal of applying the students’ leadership skills in a health care or public health setting. The focus will be strategic, not clinical. Examples may include helping a community clinic develop a strategic plan; developing a marketing plan for a local nonprofit organization; creating an implementation plan for a developing country’s field clinic (with Dr. Paul Farmer). A final case study (report) and presentation of the students’ experiences and challenges will be required at the end of the year.