Developing practitioner leaders in a distance education doctoral program: challenges and opportunities.
The nation's first executive doctoral program in health leadership was launched at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health in August 2005. The program confers a DrPH in health administration. This paper describes the program goals, admissions criteria, program structure and content, use of technology and results of initial program evaluations. Lessons learned during the planning and first three years of operation may assist others as they evaluate the feasibility and desirability of creating similar doctoral-level distance education programs. A critical need exists for additional programs able to attract and prepare top health leaders. This distance DrPH leadership program is one model for what may be the beginning of a promising new era in health leadership education.