Who will run America's public health laboratories? Senior public health laboratory scientists are retiring in record numbers, and candidates to replace them are few. The National Center for Public Health Laboratory Leadership (NCPHLL) works to build a new cadre of leaders dedicated to protecting the public's health.


What does it take to run a public health laboratory? A PhD in microbiology? Years of experience working in a lab? Extensive knowledge of laboratory testing techniques? All of these and more. Laboratory directors must be able to manage a budget, motivate staff, advocate for funding, organize committees and understand legislative processes. NCPHLL aims to attract students into the profession and give those already working in public health opportunities to develop leadership skills.

What NCPHLL Is Doing

NCPHLL sponsors leadership development and fellowship programs, leads an annual orientation for new public health laboratory directors and sponsors educational sessions and forums to advance careers in public health laboratory science and shape the direction of the field. Initiatives include:

  • Emerging Leader Program: Twelve-month leadership development program offers unique training opportunities and the chance to collaborate on a project addressing a pressing workforce issue.
  • Fellowship Program: Fellowships offer graduates of bachelor’s, master’s and postdoctoral programs professional opportunities in public health laboratories across the US.
  • Network of Laboratory Leadership Alumni (NOLLA): Program for alumni of the Emerging Leader Program. Participants develop marketing strategies for previous cohort projects, plan forums on topics in leadership and management and serve as mentors for current emerging leaders.
  • Leadership Forums: for state laboratory directors and other stakeholders to network and develop solutions to issues in the public health laboratory community.
  • New Laboratory Directors’ Orientation: An intensive three-day orientation for new laboratory directors hosted at CDC. The program includes leadership assessment, team-building exercises, skill-building workshops and sessions with key staff from APHL and CDC.
  • Promotion of Public Health Laboratory Science Careers: Partnerships and projects encouraging students to pursue public health laboratory science careers.

We'd Love to Hear from You

Are you currently working as a public health laboratory scientist and would like resources and tools to advance in the field? Are you a microbiology, chemistry or biology student researching job opportunities upon graduation? Do you work for a partner public health organization and want to join efforts in marketing public health or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers?

Contact National Center for Public Health Laboratory Leadership Director, Pandora Ray, pandora.ray@aphl.org.