The online certificate program in Human-Centered Leadership in Health and Human Services at the University of Maryland School of Social Work is designed primarily for women. The rationale for the certificate program is based on: 

  1. The need and intensity for health and human services is increasing while leadership talent is declining. Our recent market analysis by the Education Advisory Board shows a projected rise in employer demand and opportunities for professionals trained in health and human services-centered leadership. The School of Social Work is located on a robust health and human services campus with the potential for interdisciplinary instruction and collaboration.
  2. Women have been especially underrepresented in leadership roles and unsupported in leadership development activitiesand women of color are especially disadvantaged.   The composition of health and human service organizations is predominately women (about 70%). An underrepresentation in both leadership development and roles can have a significant impact on the ability of women to lead change in the new work environment. Thus, the health and performance of the human services sector depends upon equitably equipping potential, emerging, and current women leaders, especially women of color, with relevant leadership skills. 

We have chosen a Human-Centered Leadership Framework after much research and many discussions with experts in the leadership development field. The health and human services and organizational psychology literatures, consultants, and leaders on the ground advocate for an emphasis on meaningfulness, equity, and impact. Broad-based sector and global research by McKinsey, the Center for Creative Leadership, and other leadership forums have culminated in a “positive framework” of Human-Centered Leadership that highlights purpose and meaning, self-awareness, empathy and compassion, equity and inclusiveness, support, adaptability/agility, and resilience that drives personal and others’ achievement. Human-centered leadership works across gender identities; however, the framework resonates particularly with women as it is based on research into the specific leadership needs and experiences of women. The dimensions or “pillars” of this framework will be infused throughout the leadership development workshops, coaching, and networking that are components of this certificate.  

The Five Pillars that guide the online workshops, facilitated peer and individual virtual coaching, and in-person networking components of the Health and Human Services Human-Centered Leadership Certificate are:  

  1. Mindful and Positive Self-awareness:  Human-centeredleaders understand the necessity of developing their emotional intelligence, empathy, and ability to connect with others, which requires a mindset that their own self-interest is dependent on meeting the interests of others. They also maintain an optimistic outlook and attitude when faced with challenges and adversity.
  2. Authenticity and Meaning: Human-centeredleaders connect strongly with a personal mission or purpose that is bigger than themselves and aligned with their core values. They have a realistic assessment of their strengths and weaknesses and the necessity of teaming with others to achieve their mission.
  3. Relational Equity and Inclusiveness: Human-centeredleaderscreate an environment that facilitates a sense of belonging by exuding humility, listening to, and including diverse perspectives. This requires leaders to foster reciprocal networks of mentors and sponsors to enhance access to opportunities for themselves and others. 
  4. Agility and Risk-taking: Human-centeredleaders promote self-achievement and organizational effectiveness by being highly adaptable, strategically embracing and taking ownership of opportunities, and systematically seeking professional development.
  5. Resilience and Restoration: Human-centeredleaders persevere and maintain a sense of flow during periods of high work stress while incorporating practices and periods of rest and recovery in their life and their team/organization.   


Program Structure 

  • Year-long cohort model - both individuals and teams from health and human service organizations could join annually. 
  • A pre and post online assessment. 
  • One online workshop per month (in two back-to-back half-day sessions) for the year with peer and individual coaching sessions infused throughout the program. 
  • Total number of hours: 50 
  • An annual celebration/networking event. 

Total Number of CEUs (for Social Workers): 44 for entire program 

Missing more than 1 session will result in dismissal from the Certificate program. A missed session will result in a reduction of CEUs. 


Learning Objectives 

  1. To increase women’s knowledge and skills in human-centered leadership practice within health and human service agencies.
  2. To integrate the leadership skills learned into behaviors that can effectively lead and nurture the workforce. 
  3. To increase women’s ability to be responsive, agile and strategic advocates for change in the work environment. 


Payment Cost and Schedule 

$2,000.00 for the complete certificate program  

Applicants can choose to pay for the entire program or the four-payment schedule below. Payments are non-refundable after the second session. 

Please Submit the Following with Your Application: 

  • An updated copy of your resume/CV 
  • A one-time, non-refundable $50 application fee 
  • A brief personal statement
    • Why do you want to participate in leadership training?
    • How will you use the knowledge and skills in your work? 

For questions or assistance with the application, contact UMSSW CPE at 


For questions related to the Human-Centered Leadership certificate content, contact Co-Directors, Dr. Karen Hopkins at (410-706-1496) or Dr. Megan Meyer at 

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