collective leadership; community partnerships; collaboration; team science; health disparities


Medicine and Health Sciences


Implementing collaborative approaches to addressing health disparities involves multiple individuals who have leadership roles both within their own sectors and within the collaborative effort’s infrastructure. Understanding how that collective leadership operates and the skills and behaviors each member of the team brings to the collaborative process can shed light on what makes for a successful outcome. The Center of Excellence for Health Disparities in the Nation’s Capital (CEHD) was a collaborative effort between two universities and among multiple schools within the same institution, across departments and with multiple community partners. This paper presents a case example of collective leadership in an academic setting with the goal of reducing health disparities in the District of Columbia utilizing the leadership model of Kouzes and Posner (2007) as a conceptual framework.The self-assessment of leadership practices within the leadership team of this collaborative effort demonstrated that while across the team there was the array of leadership practices needed to support successful collaboration, no one team member reported high frequencies of all practices. It was the collective profile of behaviors that aligned with the elements needed for successful collaboration.