On Wednesday November 2, 2022, the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) held a virtual award ceremony, to recognize and celebrate individuals who successfully completed the University of Washington’s Certificate in Leadership and Management in Health course. The graduating cohort was the first to benefit from a partnership between the University of Washington and CVC through which CVC was designated a site to offer courses under the University’s Global Health E-Learning programme.
The Leadership and Management in Health course focused on building key skills and competencies required for working in complex local, regional, and global health environments. The course helped participants develop a clear sense of the issues and challenges associated with leading organizations and managing people. Personal leadership development and practical management skills were also taught during the 12-week course.
In congratulating the graduates on their achievement, CVC Executive Director Ivan Cruickshank applauded them for their dedication to completing the course. “When CVC decided to become a site to offer the University of Washington courses to our partners, it was with the expectation that the courses would contribute significantly to building the capacity of our partners, especially those operating within Civil Society Organizations, while enriching the lives of the participants,” he said.
“We were happy to see the enthusiasm with which participants tackled the course material and their robust participation in the various site meetings organized to discuss course content. While the journey was not an easy one, they effectively balanced work and personal responsibilities with the requirements needed to successfully complete the course. For that tremendous effort, I applaud their success,” he added.
Meanwhile, Collin Kirton of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV – PANCAP’s Coordinating Unit (PCU), which sponsored the course, brought greetings on behalf of CARICOM and pointed out that collaborating with CVC to offer the course is part of a wider strategy to help build capacity and strengthen the regional HIV response. He encouraged the graduates to put all that they’ve learnt into practice, “I urge you to utilize your newly acquired skills and knowledge to make meaningful contributions to the national and regional HIV responses as the region tries to achieve the 95-95-95 targets and end AIDS by 2030,” he said.
USAID Jamaica’s Director, Office of Environment and Health, Pamela Foster was the ceremony’s guest speaker. Ms. Foster in her charge to the graduates pointed to the fact that leadership and management in the global health sector is critical. “Management and leadership skills are not simple, they’re not straight forward and they’re not one size fits all,” she pointed out. She shared that USAID recognizes that management and leadership are essential to well performing health organizations, noting that quality performance in the sector is not assured without skilled health leaders and effective management systems. Ms. Foster added, “The evidence is clear, there is a demonstrable link between improved leadership, management and governance and improved health services and ultimately health outcomes. So, I’d like to also thank you all for all the extra work that you have put in, and will continue to put in, to translate that knowledge into practice and to improve that health outcome at the community level.”
In the meantime, class valedictorian Kerlin Charles thanked CVC, the University of Washington and other sponsors who made the course possible and acknowledged that the journey had many lessons. “We have all done this while working full-time jobs and wearing many hats. Together this journey taught us many lessons, challenged how we think, opened our eyes to new and different approaches and showed us who we are professionally and personally,” she noted.
The Leadership and Management in Health course was one of two offered by CVC during the 2022 academic year and was supported by funding provided through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and PANCAP. CVC will be partnering with the University of Washington to deliver additional courses in 2023.