Knowledge Sharing and Networking among State Health Officials

Project ID: Knowledge Sharing and Networking among State Health Officials
Funding: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Researchers: David Lazer (PI - Harvard U.), Ines Mergel, (Harvard U.), Nancy Katz (Harvard U.)
Collaborator: Timothy Huerta (Texas Tech U.)
Status: In progress


The goal of the project is to evaluate a) the current state of knowledge aggregation and exchange among state health officials (SHOs), and b) the impact of SHLI and its program partners on that process.


The State Health Leadership Initiative (SHLI) is a program administered by the National Governors Association (NGA) and funded with the help of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The purpose of SHLI is to accelerate the development of the leadership capacity of Chief State Health Officials who are newly appointed to build their personal skills and provide them with adequate knowledge to be able to ensure the effectiveness of the public health system in a rapidly changing health care and political environment.

Part of the genius of the federal system, as Brandeis noted long ago, is that states may serve as "laboratories of democracy." However, a potential downfall of a federal system is that experimentation in one corner of the system is not taken advantage of in other corners. This is a particular challenge in domains that are knowledge intensive, because there may be economies of scale in such arenas. That is, it may be that a certain minimum volume of experiences is necessary to efficient, where many states may not experience that volume, nor have the requisite concentration of talent to manage certain problems. It is plausible that public health is one such domain, and it is for this reason that a program such as SHLI, offers enormous potential value.

Concept & Design © Alexander Schellong