Leadership in Public Service | Howard Koh | Voices in Leadership | Summary and Q&A

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September 25, 2015
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Harvard University
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Leadership in Public Service | Howard Koh | Voices in Leadership

TL;DR

Dr. Howard Koh shares his journey as a public health leader and offers insights on leadership and tackling public health challenges.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What drew Dr. Koh to public policy and public health leadership?

Dr. Koh's passion for helping patients suffering from preventable illnesses and his desire to make a broader impact led him to public health leadership.

Q: How does Dr. Koh navigate emotionally charged issues in public health leadership?

Dr. Koh believes in creating a sense of urgency, respecting different perspectives, and involving stakeholders in decision-making processes to address emotionally charged issues.

Q: What successes is Dr. Koh proud of in addressing public health challenges?

Dr. Koh highlights the progress made in tobacco cessation, saving millions of lives through the 50-year anniversary of the landmark surgeon general's report. However, he acknowledges the ongoing challenge of sustaining progress in public health.

Q: What skills are important for public health leadership?

Dr. Koh emphasizes the importance of standing for something bigger than oneself, building relationships, embracing ambiguity, and facilitating collaboration among interdisciplinary stakeholders.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Dr. Howard Koh is a distinguished leader in public health, with a focus on addressing preventable illness and promoting health literacy.

  • He has served in various leadership positions, including as the Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and as the 14th Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Dr. Koh emphasizes the importance of purpose, humility, and collaboration in effective public health leadership.

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