Empowering Women for Leadership in Global Health (EMERGE): Pilot Evaluation Findings

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Kathryn M. Yount, PhD Alicia Macler Eun-Ok Im Joanne A. McGriff Michael Sacks


Background: Women are under-represented in global health leadership worldwide. Socio-ecological barriers may diminish women’s institutional belonging, career aspirations, and leadership pathways.

Aims: In this pilot study, we describe and evaluate EMERGE, Empowering Women for Leadership in Global Health, a theory-based, multicomponent leadership development program for diverse women graduate students.

Methods: Emory graduate students who self-identified as women and engaged in global health were eligible to participate in EMERGE. Socio-ecologically grounded program components included: a three-day leadership development workshop; nine-month mentored team-challenge projects; monthly seminars by women leaders; social-media outreach; and project presentations with peers, mentors, and university leadership. We conducted a mixed-methods, single-group pretest-posttest evaluation that included a) four quantitative self-assessments on leadership capabilities over the program period and b) three focus groups with mentored teams that explored fellows’ experiences applying leadership skills, managing team projects, and working with mentors.

Results: All 12 selected fellows self-identified as women from at least one other underrepresented group. Half originated from low- or middle-income countries. At baseline, completing the team project was a common short-term (12-month) aspiration. Managing and leading teams emphasizing equity, mentoring, and participatory problem solving were common longer-term (1-5-year) aspirations. At baseline, fellows were least confident about negotiating their interests and most confident about making ethical decisions. Overall, fellows expressed high satisfaction with instructors (mean 8.8 of 10) and content (mean 8.3 of 10) of the leadership development workshop as well as increased confidence and proficiency in most leadership, team-management, and mentor-related skills at month one. Reported confidence and proficiency in most skills declined by program midline and then increased and peaked at endline.

Conclusion: The EMERGE program supported sustained improvements in fellows’ leadership capabilities. The program’s multi-month and multi-component approach grounded in socio-ecological theory were key elements. EMERGE holds promise to train the next generation of women leaders in global health.  Future work is needed to identify opportunities to support leadership pathways for women in global health in diverse work settings.

Keywords: Empowering Women for Leadership in Global Health, EMERGE

Article Details

How to Cite
YOUNT, Kathryn M. et al. Empowering Women for Leadership in Global Health (EMERGE): Pilot Evaluation Findings. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1, jan. 2024. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/4931>. Date accessed: 03 mar. 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v12i1.4931.
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