Chief Program Officer

Chief Program Officer

Last Mile Health

Boston, MA   |   August 23, 2019

About Last Mile Health

Last Mile Health’s (LMH) mission is to save lives in the world’s most remote communities.

Through effective country programs and global initiatives, LMH partners with governments to design, scale, strengthen and sustain teams of technology-enabled community and frontline health workers who bring high-quality primary health care within reach of millions of rural people.

With the launch of our FY20-23 “Within Reach” Strategy, LMH’s programs will expand geographically and in scope during the next four years. LMH seeks to hire a Chief Program Officer (CPO). The CPO will lead a Global Programs department that enhances quality of our country programs and supports the organization’s research, advocacy, and technical assistance efforts. As the leader of Global Programs, the CPO will be responsible for the organization’s programmatic vision and quality, act as a key decision maker and representative, report to the President & Chief Operating Officer and serve on the organization’s senior management team.

To learn more about LMH, please visit:

The Opportunity

Recruitment of an LMH Chief Program Officer marks the launch of a new Global Programs function for the organization. Global Programs will be a hub for learning, analysis and best practice, shared in a systematic fashion with LMH country teams and external partners similarly interested in saving lives in the world’s most remote communities.

The CPO will lead a department that will provide technical support, define organizational standards for program quality, and support and leverage synergies across LMH’s country program offices in Africa and global initiatives, including the Community Health Academy, technical assistance, advocacy, monitoring/evaluation/research/learning (MERL) functions.

The Global Programs Department will have four essential responsibilities:

  1. Define and support LMH’s program agenda. Articulate and act as a steward for Last Mile Health’s programmatic approach, creating relevant tools and routines to support a disciplined process for country and initiative design, planning, monitoring and evaluation. Act as quality assurance on program design and major course corrections or innovations to enable programs to drive toward measurable outcomes, use best available evidence and best practice in the sector and within LMH.
  2. Build and house LMH technical competencies. House the global technical expertise that defines LMH’s program strategy in the sector. Provide high quality technical support to enable “anchor” country program and “amplify” global initiative teams to deliver on the LMH approach and external partners to achieve similar gains for rural communities.
  3. Curate and share LMH knowledge & learning. Create and share documented lessons learned from LMH programs, outside best practice, the best available research on intervention effectiveness to inform programmatic decisions and innovations. Use creative routines and tools to encourage an adaptive, learning approach to program implementation and improvement. Oversee program key performance indicators and regular reviews of progress. Identify and/or conduct analyses of relevant contextual and global health trends and their programmatic consequences to share with LMH colleagues, brainstorm emerging opportunities or innovations that are consistent with LMH mission and strategy.
  4. Support and focus LMH’s research and advocacy. In partnership with the Senior Director of Implementation and Improvement Science and the Global MERL Director, the CPO will focus LMH’s research agenda, designed to fill the most pressing gaps in evidence for policy makers and practitioners working to improve health systems and community health delivery. Define sharp LMH advocacy priorities, aligned with LMH’s Within Reach strategy and mission. Use LMH exemplars and evidence to participate actively in the relevant dialogues that influence global health policy and practice. Support the MERL and advocacy teams to create, publish and disseminate LMH research, policy and analytic products to drive the organization’s role as a thought leader in the global health community and with relevant external stakeholders.

The CPO will be a member of the senior management team, reporting to the President & COO. The CPO will work in close collaboration with the CEO as well as Liberia and Malawi Country Directors and heads of Amplify Global Initiatives, including the Community Health Academy, HIP team and MERL teams. As LMH’s geographic focus expands to new Anchor Country programs and Global Initiative teams operate in additional geographies in Africa, the CPO will become a source of knowledge exchange and information flow across the organization, identifying themes for continued learning, fundraising and partnership.

Ultimately responsible for the quality of LMH’s Liberia and Malawi Country Programs and Amplify Global Initiatives, the CPO will be a key leader in supporting the execution of the Within Reach four-year strategic plan. The CPO will nurture, oversee and expand areas of centralized expertise as relevant to implement the strategy, support Liberia and Malawi country programs and pursue donor and policy opportunities. The CPO will partner with their team to ensure LMH has consistent leadership and representation in policy fora, and relevant academic and practitioner conferences. The CPO will be a key relationship manager of important partner organizations and accountable for working with LMH’s Partnerships and Development team to assure consistently high-quality content is available for donor proposals, and partner and media engagement.

As the first leader of a newly created department, the CPO will need to be able to develop the coordinating mechanisms, standardized practice and business routines necessary for their team to deliver high quality support and leadership across current and new LMH programmatic work and contexts. While the CPO will have a senior team to manage, he/she will also need to build strong, mutually accountable working relationships with peer leaders, including LMH Country Directors, leadership of the Global MERL and HIP teams, and the Executive Director of the Community Health Academy. Being able to drive change and improvement through influence will therefore be a requirement for the selected candidate.  The CPO must be a resourceful professional who can access expertise, lead and manage change. The CPO will be a proven manager, with a track record empowering senior staff; the ability to provide and receive ongoing feedback for improvement; comfort leading in a non-hierarchical organization; and a healthy dose of humility and humor.

In addition to substantial internal responsibilities, the CPO will be a leading external representative for LMH. The selected candidate must be comfortable interacting and communicating with African government officials, savvy about domestic and donor politics and familiar with the relevant NGO and donor communities.

The CPO is expected to travel 25-35% of their time, often in remote, resource poor contexts.

Detailed specific responsibilities include:

Programmatic Vision & Planning 

  • In collaboration with other executive leaders, set a vision for how LMH supports an integrated model of community health care in resource poor countries.
  • Collaborate across LMH teams to articulate an LMH program model that builds on the current high-level theory of change to create results frameworks based on internal learning and external evidence that can be used to inform program design, planning, measurement and evaluation.
  • Promote a learning culture that privileges continuous improvement through the use of program data, internal experience and outside research about health systems, policy reform, government decision making and human behavior.
  • Inspire ownership and use of metrics, evidence and data, encouraging and coaching colleagues to use them at all levels to inform future action across program activities.
  • Act as a key decision maker in partnership with their team and other executive team members on go/no go decisions related to programmatic innovation, technical competencies to develop and recruit, new geographies for expansion.
  • Identify and nurture strategic opportunities and partnerships with academics, donors and peers that maintain and expand LMH’s thought leadership in community health policy reform, programs and operational research.
  • Lead the development and act as the safe-keeper of program relevant KPIs, policies, standards and guidelines geared to standardize programmatic work as LMH expands in scope and scale.

Management and Quality Assurance

  • Lead a team of senior staff across technical disciplines, recruiting new capacity and nurturing existing staff as necessary to meet the needs of Liberia and Malawi country programs implementing in often unpredictable contexts
  • Develop an agile technical assistance model for the global programs team to support LMH country offices with timely, responsive and high-quality guidance and follow up
  • Be able to manage through influence and positive engagement with peer senior leaders across the organization
  • Provide guidance to highly skilled cross-disciplinary teams to ensure:
    • Technically sound and innovative design and evaluation of LMH programs;
    • Presentation of LMH’s work and results in peer reviewed or industry journals, and at key international meetings
    • The gathering of regular highlights and success stories from programs for internal and external communications
    • The highest quality technical components and innovative program design in proposal development

Representation, Research, Advocacy and Policy 

  • Bring experience, acumen and superb communication skills needed to work effectively with Ministries of Health and other relevant government actors.
  • Act as credible principal positioned to represent LMH in key external fora, own key external relationships, speak and write on behalf of the organization
  • Assure LMH research and influence agendas are synergistic and have clear, specific strategies and execution plans
  • Partner with CEO and Senior Director of Implementation and Improvement Science to identify operational research opportunities, potential partnerships and funding to conduct priority projects
  • Engage with and/or guide team engagement according to a set biannual rhythm of attending key global fora to maintain LMH profile and to foster a supportive policy and funding climate
  • Act as a partner for Chief Development Officer to represent LMH with key donors and communities


  • A public health professional with deep expertise in health systems strengthening, a record of successfully scaling public health interventions, influencing government leaders
  • Preference for a leader with experience working directly with African governments and ministries of health
  • Strong working knowledge of community health care systems, current interventions and innovations in those systems, and related public health research, with a particular focus in the Global South.
  • Demonstrated experience creating new teams or departments, effective organizational process and routines, leading and managing change
  • Experience managing teams of senior leaders
  • Experience working within or alongside global health policy-making institutions, with a strong understanding of the policy-making process and priorities.
  • Strong preference for programmatic experience, including candidates with field and/or direct clinical experience.
  • A graduate degree in public health or a clinical field (such as medicine or nursing)

Skills & Attributes

  • Comfort and skill operating in start-up and scaling programming environments, including decision-making in ambiguity and iterative testing of results.
  • Ability to properly balance collaboration and decisiveness, understanding where input is needed and then rapidly driving toward execution.
  • Strategic mindset in all elements of work; ability to anticipate likely obstacles; and strong operational planning instincts.
  • Ability to navigate sensitive internal and external decisions and situations with diplomacy and attention toward demonstrating LMH values at all times.
  • Superb communicator, with ability to communicate effectively to remote teams and colleagues, policy makers and donors, and a commitment to internal as well as external presence and voice
  • Comfort traveling in remote, rural, resource poor contexts for extended periods of time

Last Mile Health does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation or other characteristic covered by law with regard to employment opportunities.


Liz Lombard and Angie Sessoms of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, educational institutions and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit