The Future of Global Public Health Leadership — Eneida Roldan

Inspiration And Insights
4 min readJan 25, 2023


Peter Drucker, considered by many to have established the foundation for modern business management, said that the mark of successful leaders is their capacity to transform problems into challenges. The healthcare industry has certainly had to address a myriad of problems in the past few years. As an alumna of both University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business and UPenn’s Wharton Business School, I have had the opportunity to implement lessons learned from the corporate world in responding to these crises.

Recently, the Global Health Conference of the Americas invited me to speak about the importance of leadership in public health systems and what we need to do in order to prevent major outbreaks. This annual event, hosted by the Global Health Consortium at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work at Florida International University, convenes leading public health, medical, and academic experts to discuss global health challenges and opportunities to improve the health of communities. Here are a few takeaways:

Among the challenges facing the global public health system are known diseases both old and new (polio, tuberculosis, COVID-19), other illnesses (obesity, mental health, addiction), natural disasters, climate change, population growth, and the anti-science and anti-vaxx movements. These all weigh heavily on our current healthcare system infrastructures, with the pandemic exposing many of the weaknesses and shortcomings.

To use business terminology, we are living in a VUCA world: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. In other words, our world is constantly changing and we cannot predict what comes next. In addition, we suffer from information overload and lack clear connections between cause and effect. Moreover, there is a disconnect between our global and local outlooks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this all contributed to a disjointed and ineffective response.

How can our healthcare leaders best navigate the VUCA world? Responding to Volatility involves having vision; addressing Uncertainty entails clarity; unravelling Complexity leads to understanding; and traversing Ambiguity requires agility.

The global public healthcare system is at a breaking point and needs leaders who can not only address current challenges, but also identify and act on the opportunities that will allow us to prevent future disasters. Here are a few ideas on how to achieve this:

· Develop broad perspectives that differ from what you are accustomed to.

· Ask questions. Assume the position of a “lifelong student,” while maintaining an open door to today’s world.

· Adopt a futuristic vision. This may not be comfortable as change creates fear, but it is essential to not only focus on the present.

Above all, always keep in mind that we must be able to work in a unified, cohesive, and decisive manner. To use business language again, “think globally and act locally.”

About Eneida Roldan: Eneida is a dynamic physician leader, a vibrant teacher and mentor, and a dedicated board member with service on an array of for-profit and not-for-profit boards. She has held executive positions in a full range of health care settings, including private and public hospitals, academic medical centers, and entrepreneurial medicine in the field of wellness and health promotion. She is passionate about advocating for diverse women in leadership positions and providing strategic solutions to improve business efficiency and effectiveness, while ensuring inclusive healthcare to all. Her most recent accomplishment has been providing crisis management throughout the pandemic to the Miami community.