Strategic Scholars Program

About the Strategic Scholars Program

The Strategic Scholars Program, a program developed and implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), uses a community of practice cohort model and multiple learning modalities to build governmental public health workforce capacity in eight strategic skill areas. The program will launch its second cohort in February 2020; selected Public Health Scholars will have the opportunity to build their skills in Resource Management, specifically in the areas of fiscal, budget, grant, and contract management.

About the Strategic Scholars Program Management Cohort (2020)

According to the deBeaumont Foundation’s Building Skills for a More Strategic Public Health Workforce: A Call to Action, “Resource management skills are for the acquisition, retention, and management of people and fiscal resources. All levels of the public health workforce would benefit from additional training in financial and resource management skills, including ethics. Financial skills relating to the administration of grants and management of budgets are vital, and there is a continued need for leadership skills, communications skills, and management of teams.” Additionally, the 2017 Public Health Workforce Interest and Needs Survey (PH WINS) demonstrated budget and financial management as the top training need identified by public health workers.

Upon completion of the program, Strategic Scholars will be able to:

  • Identify strategies for understanding the true nature of public health problems
  • Develop a program budget and narrative
  • Procure services to help achieve programmatic goals
  • Execute and manage contracts
  • Assess the financial health of individual programs and their relevance to an agency’s overall financial health

Additionally, Scholars will have the opportunity to:

  • Apply their new skills in their current settings through the completion of a culminating experience project and individualized coaching.
  • Engage and develop relationships with peers from health departments across the country to explore new ideas and concepts

Strategic Scholars Program Components

To build skills in resource management, over the course of six months, scholars will:

  • Complete the self-paced online learning Building Expertise in Administration and Management (BEAM) Certificate Program
  • Participate in four virtual live learning sessions via video conference
  • Attend the Public Health Improvement Training in San Antonio, TX, June 2-4 (travel support will be provided by NNPHI)
  • Attend one in-person skill-based workshop for Strategic Scholars at PHIT
  • Work one on one with a coach on a skill application project via three video conference sessions to address a project or issue related to resource management in the work setting

Participant Eligibility

The Strategic Scholars program is a competitive application process open to personnel working in state, tribal, or local health departments. In order to participate, applicants must apply as a team with one representative who works in performance improvement (e.g., Accreditation Coordinator, Quality Improvement Coordinator, Performance Manager, Workforce Development Coordinator, Community Health Improvement Coordinator) and one representative from Administration/Finance (e.g., Health Director, Finance Officer, Grants Coordinator, Contract Manager or other similar role). This team approach is necessary to strengthen the programmatic and financial relationships within the public health organization and to provide opportunities for learning across disciplines via the coaching component of the program.

Strategic Scholars Program At-A-Glance

The timeline for major activities for the 2020 Strategic Scholars Program is below.

January 2020January 15, 2020
January 22, 2020
Scholar Application Released
Informational webinar
February 2020February 7, 2020
February 17, 2020
February 19, 2020
February 28, 2020
Scholar applications due
Applicants notified of participation status
Deadline for Scholars to accept
Virtual Orientation Session
March 2020March 1-20, 2020Scholars to complete BEAM Modules 1-2
Virtual Live Learning Session: Module 1-2
April 2020April 1-20, 2020Scholars to complete BEAM Modules 3-4
Virtual Live Learning Session: Modules 3-4
May 2020May 1-20, 2020Scholars to complete BEAM Modules 5-6
Virtual Live Learning Session: Modules 5-6
June 2020June 2-4, 2020
June 3, 2020
Public Health Improvement Training
Skill based workshop at PHIT.
Individual coaching session 1
July 2020TBDIndividual coaching session 2
Individual coaching session 3
Virtual Live Learning Session: Skill Application Showcase and Commencement Celebration

Application Process

The 2020 application is now closed.

Have Questions or Want to Learn More?

An informational webinar was held on January 22, 2020. Background and overview of the project was discussed, as well as more in-depth details about the BEAM certificate and the coaching process. For anyone unable to attend, please refer to the recording of the webinar, presentation slides and a list of FAQs.

Please email Laila Fox, Senior Program Manager, Workforce Training and Education Initiatives, with any other questions regarding the Strategic Scholars Program.


Strategic Scholars Overview Informational Webinar

The webinar can be found here.

The slideshow presented in the webinar can be found here.

Check back for updates.



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