Public Health Informatics Leadership to Improve Health Outcomes: An Interview with Dr. David A. Ross

In this leadership video, Dr. Ed Baker talks with David A. Ross, ScD, Chief Executive Officer and President of The Task Force for Global Health.

As a companion to this series of columns on leadership in public health informatics, we present an interview from 2022 with Dr. Dave Ross, a preeminent pioneer in the field of public health informatics.

His personal story of growing up on a western ranch resulted in insights into the behavior of herd animals which translated into his views on the behavior of humans. A key takeaway from this insight is for public health leaders to know their audience and to adapt their leadership practices accordingly.

In this interview, he shares his own leadership philosophy which is characterized by:

  1. Being patient and persistent — The public health system moves slowly and will eventually respond to consistent and focused leadership.
  2. Being kind and respectful — Honesty and integrity should be your calling card.
  3. Rolling up your sleeves and being ready to help out when needed.
  4. Building relationships — Public health is a relationship business; leaders must involve others and defer to them when it helps the herd to move forward.

Dave also shares his experiences as a pioneer in public health informatics beginning with his leadership of the Information Network for Public Health Officials (INPHO) Initiative. He then discusses leading the All Kids Count program and the creation of the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII), a program of the Task Force for Global Health, for which he has served as the President and CEO

Finally, he stresses the importance of being skilled in the process of selling one’s ideas as a central attribute of effective public health leadership. In doing so, one must not only know the audience but also craft an influential and personalized message- behaviors which Dave modelled over his entire public health career.

We trust that you will learn much from this inspiring time with one of our nation’s most influential and exemplary public health leaders.

Read other posts in this series:

Author Profile

Ed Baker
Dr. Edward L. Baker currently serves as Adjunct Professor at UNC, Harvard, and Indiana University schools of public health. Previously, he served as Director of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at UNC, Assistant Surgeon General in the US Public Health Service, Director of CDC’s Public Heath Practice Program Office, Deputy Director of NIOSH, and Associate Professor of Occupational Health at Harvard


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