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What would you tell this person in order to communicate the social justice perspective and values to this market-justice leader in the community?

Communicating the Social Justice Perspective
In this program you have explored why and how public health leaders should apply sound business principles in public health practice. Yet with their mission of helping the most vulnerable populations, public health organizations cannot be driven by an exclusively “market justice” perspective, in which the principles of self-interest, individualism, and voluntary behavior are given priority.
For this Discussion, you are asked to consider a scenario in which you, as a public health leader, have the opportunity to articulate the “social justice” perspective of public health to an individual who holds a market-justice position and who also has a lot of influence within the community.
As Heifetz and Linsky (2003) observe in one of your readings this week, “Leadership is an improvisational art. You may be guided by an overarching vision, clear values, and a strategic plan, but what you actually do from moment to moment cannot be scripted. You must respond as events unfold” (p. 45). Nevertheless, to help prepare you improvisational opportunities in the future, think through and “script” what you hope you would do and say in the following scenario. Reflect carefully on how best to influence this individual and what might be gained by explaining the social justice perspective that informs public health.

You are the Director of the local public health department. You are at a social event one evening with many political leaders and influential community members. You meet one particularly influential person who is an avowed “market justice” advocate (even if he or she doesn’t use that terminology). You introduce yourself. The person looks puzzled and replies, “Public health, huh? You know, I don’t know much about public health. What are you guys all about? What do you do? What are your values?” How would you respond?

Response to the following: 

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  • What would you tell this person in order to communicate the social justice perspective and values to this market-justice leader in the community?
  • Identify and discuss 2–3 of the principles you learned from this week’s Learning Resources on influencing others and surviving as a leader that you would want to apply in this scenario

Media ( attached)

  • Video: Laureate Education (Producer). (2008). Leadership, professionalism, and ethics in public health practice: Increasing professional influence and effectiveness [Video file]. Retrieved from
    Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 8 minutes.
    Most leaders develop their professional effectiveness over time and through the guidance of others. In this program you will hear from Dr. Mary Wakefield, who began her career as a nurse in North Dakota before turning her attention to public health policy. In sharing her own story, she explains how she was able to gain access to and influence policymakers. She offers advice on how leaders can develop professionally and make the greatest impact in public health policy. The lessons she shares will apply in nearly any area in which you as a leader will seek to influence other decision makers.

Optional Resources ( You can freely access on line).Optional Resources:

  • Rowitz, L. (2001). Public health leadership. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen.You are encouraged to read Chapters 3, 4, 6, and 8.
  • Article: Brett, J., Behfar, K., & Kern, M. C. (2006). Managing multicultural teams. Harvard Business Review, 84(11), 84-91.
  • Article: Cross, R., Liedtka, J., & Weiss, L. (2005). A practical guide to social networks. Harvard Business Review, 83(3), 124-132.
  • Article: Ely, R. J., Meyerson, D. E., & Davidson, M. N. (2006). Rethinking political correctness. Harvard Business Review, 84(9), 78-87.
  • Article: Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2001). Primal leadership: The hidden driver of great performance. Harvard Business Review, 79(11), 42-51.
  • Article: Heifetz, R. A., & Laurie, D. L. (2001). The work of leadership. Harvard Business Review, 79(11), 131-141.
  • Article: Uzzi, B., & Dunlap, S. (2005). How to build your network. Harvard Business Review, 83(12),53-60.


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