Virtual Leadership Development Program (VLDP)
In response to demand from public and private health care organizations for cost-effective, practical, and accessible leadership and management development, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) designed the Virtual Leadership Development Program (VLDP) in 2002. The VLDP combines the use of the internet, printed materials, and face-to-face work to strengthen the capacity of health teams to identify and address health challenges. Rather than giving a few top level managers off-site leadership training for one to two weeks or more, the VLDP trains up to 12 teams of four to 10 people virtually over the course of 13 weeks. The VLDP requires approximately four to six hours of individual commitment per week. Team members work independently on the VLDP web site with additional support from the program workbook. They also participate in on-site team meetings within their organizations throughout the program. During the VLDP, each team plans and develops an action plan that addresses a real organizational or programmatic challenge facing them.
The VLDP is designed in seven modules, one introductory, five content modules, and one conclusion module. The five content modules of the VLDP cover the following topics:
- Introduction to leadership in health institutions
- Facing leadership challenges
- Competencies in leadership
- Change management
Leadership and organizational development specialists facilitate the program, providing support and feedback to participants via email, telephone and Web site postings throughout the program. Specialists in monitoring and evaluation assist the facilitation team when the participants are working on their leadership action plans.
The VLDP results in improved health outcomes through the implementation of a leadership action plan as well as improved teamwork and workgroup climate. The VLDP has been successfully adapted and implemented, helping teams of health professionals around the world to address health management challenges related to Reproductive Health and Family Planning, HIV/AIDS, Human Resources for Health, and Contraceptive Commodity Security, among others. For example, a team from a Latin American NGO reported that as a result of implementing their action plans, they increased the financial sustainability of their pharmacies. Another team from a Ugandan service delivery organization reported that they were able to open six new centers to provide anti-retroviral treatment as a result of applying their leadership skills and implementing their action plan.
VLDP around the World
The demand for the VLDP continues to grow. As of November 2010, the VLDP, which is available in Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Arabic, and Russian, has been delivered to more than 2,700 participants from more than 350 health teams in 59 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Eastern Europe.