The Kresge Foundation Public Health Initiative


Gary Cox, executive director, and Patrick McGough, deputy director, of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) will work to transform the role of public health in Oklahoma City and County as part of the second group of professionals selected in The Kresge Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health initiative.

Kresge’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health was designed to provide public health leaders of county and local health departments opportunities to build additional knowledge and skills to tackle challenges public health professionals face in their communities. The initiative is designed to develop local public health leaders in pairs, and each pair includes the health officer and a future leader from the public health agency. As a team, Cox and McGough will be asked to challenge and support each other while building skills and competencies together.

“Public health leaders are valuable assets to our communities,” said Dr. Phyllis Meadows, senior advisor to The Kresge Foundation’s Health Program and the Emerging Leaders in Public Health lead. “Leaders in this program will have the opportunity to create meaningful and lasting change in their agencies that will positively impact those they serve.”

“Our agency has addressed health disparities in the community by using data, innovative concepts and partnerships the past several years. We look forward to undertaking new projects designed to improve organizational competencies in business, planning and public health systems development, which will in turn enhance our current efforts,” said Cox.

During the 18-month program, OCCHD will participate in an action-oriented program focused on the design and implementation of a transformative concept that shifts or expands the capacity of their local department. They will also receive a grant up to $125,000 as well as coaching and technical assistance to evolve their ideas into action.

Cox and McGough join 19 other teams from across the country selected to participate in the second cohort of Emerging Leaders in Public Health. Collectively, the 20 health departments represented by leaders serve nearly 14 million community members in cities across the country.

The team will also join a growing community of public health leaders supported by The Kresge Foundation. In 2015, 24 public health leaders were selected to participate in the inaugural initiative. Kresge is progressing towards its goal of providing leadership development and resources to 100 local, public health leaders across the country so that they can approach public health in a new way.

About The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is a 3.6 billion dollar private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2015, the Board of Trustees approved 370 grants totaling 125.2 million dollars, and nine social investment commitments totaling 20.3 million dollars. For more information, visit