Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies


The purpose of this project was to analyze the characteristics and motivations of leaders in community health organizations and determine if they were initiators and collaborators in bringing about real change in providing health care for their own neighborhoods. To date, there has been little research concerning leadership in the medical field and even less addressing leadership in community health organizations. Yet, every day there are "ordinary" people making significant changes in the lives of Virginians through community-based health promotion. Their efforts and accomplishments in community health care can provide new insight into leadership in an evolving context and in everyday life.

Although many theories exist to explain the phenomenon of leadership, the concept of leaders as initiators working in a web of participation for change and the theory of collaborative leadership provide the strongest perspective for analyzing the nature of leadership in community health organizations. Change is a component in numerous leadership theories and applicable in the context of community health care as well. According to James MacGregor Bums, "Change occurs when someone, perhaps in midstream, decides not to be 'controlled by events' -- i.e., by others -- but to take action on her own, for her own purposes" (Bums 17). Leaders in community health have an understanding of the problem and become determined to change the status quo, no longer accepting the inaccessibility of health care to their community.