Press Releases

2007 Releases

Senior Health Executives From China Visit Harvard School of Public Health for Leadership Training

Will Identify Problems and Solutions for China's Healthcare System

For immediate release: Thursday, July 19, 2007

Boston, MA - The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) China Initiative has welcomed a delegation of 62 senior health executives from China for a three-week intensive training program in health systems leadership. Composed of senior officials from the central and provincial government and hospital directors from across China, the group will attend lectures, conduct field visits, and interact with 34 prominent academics, public and private sector leaders, and health system specialists from Harvard and the greater Boston area. The course of study focuses on enhancing the group's knowledge and leadership skills as the executives create and implement new health system policies scheduled to be released next month by China's National Committee on Health Care Reform.

Execs (Lecture3.jpg) Training last week began with an overview of health systems and leadership. HSPH Dean Barry R. Bloom and James Ware, dean for academic affairs, presented introductory lectures on the challenges facing the public health sector. Faculty from HSPH and the Kennedy School of Government gave lectures on topics ranging from leadership in emergency response to international health system reforms. A highlight of the week was a discussion with former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis on leadership in the public sector. Mr. Dukakis led a debate on issues ranging from Massachusetts health care reform to the formation of international coalitions.

"We are discussing not only healthcare in Massachusetts," said Dean Bloom, "but vexing issues our countries share in common such as healthcare access for the uninsured, the rising costs of health care, and equity issues, in expectation that interaction with health leaders from China can help inspire ways to create and manage better health systems."

During the second week, the delegation's government officials and hospital directors are split into two groups. The government officials focus on policy and health system analysis, attending lectures by HSPH faculty and meeting with health care leaders from the Cambridge Health Alliance, PACE Program (an innovative health program for the elderly in Dorchester), and the China Medical Board, a U.S.-based foundation that aims to advance health in Asia. Meanwhile, the hospital directors examine the major issues and strategies behind hospital management. In addition to HSPH lectures, they will also visit Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

For the third week, the government officials will concentrate on international experiences in public health and health systems, with topics ranging from controlling non-communicable diseases, a case study on Mexico's health system reforms to the role of technology innovation in health care. At the same time, the hospital CEOs will concentrate their studies on how to deal with changes through strategic planning and management, meeting with leaders from Tufts Health Plan and the Joint Commission International, part of the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, based in Chicago . At the end of the week, the participants will present a symposium based on problems they have identified in the Chinese health system and propose solutions.

Said Dean Bloom in welcoming the group: "These are exciting and challenging times in China. Tremendous economic growth is improving the health and wealth of China's citizens, lifting hundreds out of poverty and introducing significant improvements in nutrition, housing, education, and health care. China's leadership recognizes that public health will have a major impact on the country's prosperity, well-being, and long-term stability...through this program, you are working with our faculty to sharpen your problem-solving, analytic, strategic planning, and leadership skills to help you plan, introduce, and sustain major policy and institutional actions."

The HSPH China Initiative

Established in 2005 by HSPH, the China Initiative's goal is to address and propose solutions to the immense challenges that afflict China's health system. The Initiative is directed by Dr. Yuanli Liu, Senior Lecturer on International Health at HSPH. The program comprises three parts: a five-year training program for China's senior health care leaders and executives; annual forums on health and social development to stimulate academic exchange and policy discussions; and a series of applied research studies (e.g. occupational health) targeting the major public health and health system issues facing China.

Two senior executive training classes were conducted in 2006 at HSPH. The inaugural China Social Development Forum was organized by the China Initiative on June 22-23, 2007 at the Central Party School in Beijing. A 15-member delegation from Harvard led by Dean Bloom attended this Forum. In collaboration with Tsinghua University in Beijing, the HSPH China Initiative recently developed and submitted to China's top policy makers a package of recommendations for reforming China's healthcare system, based on a comprehensive diagnosis of the Chinese health system and relevant international experiences.

The China Initiative's partners and supporters include the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Asia Center, the Chinese Ministry of Health, the Central Party School, Tsinghua University, as well as global companies (Medtronic Foundation, Johnson and Johnson, HH Brown) and other donors, including Julie Henry and the Dillon Fund.

For further information contact:
Robin Herman
US +1 6174324752 Call 



Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public's health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 300 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 900-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children's health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit: