China Senior Health Executive Education Program


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The China Senior Health Executive Education Program is an integral component of the China Initiative. The major objective of the program is to help China produce a critical mass of well-informed, open-minded, and highly responsible leaders and executives at the national and provincial levels who can effectively develop and implement sound policies while dealing with local issues. Given the public health challenges that have accompanied China’s rapid economic development, there is an urgent need for such progressive and resourceful leaders.

Targeted at the top health policy makers and senior health care executives in China, this program is the only international executive program that is officially sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Health. In June 2005, a Memorandum of Intent was signed in the Great Hall of the People by senior representatives from Harvard, the Chinese Ministry of Health, and Tsinghua University to start this program and continue it through 2010.


The objectives of theExecutive Education Program are as follows:

  • To develop participants’ comprehensive understandingof the major global, national, and regional health development and healthsystem reform issues;
  • To sharpen participants’ problem-solving, strategic planning, and leadership skills to help them design, introduce,and sustain major policy and institutional actions directly related totheir own environment;
  • To equip participants with an international spectrumof working models of health development and policy practice against whichthey can judge and weigh local issues and options;
  • To analyze the particular functional challengesshaping modern China’s health policy environment and healthcaremarketplace and the impact of these challenges on the ability of theparticipants to organize and develop effective policy making and strategic processes.

General Format

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The Executive Education Program lasts for an average of four weeks, with the first week of training conducted at the Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management in Beijing. There, participants are provided with a foundation in the fundamental theories and principles of economics and public policy studies. Discussions are also organized in an effort to identify and debate major unresolved issues in China’s health sector. Following this initial training at Tsinghua University, the participants spend three weeks at the Harvard School of Public Health where they learn about tools for policy analysis, leadership in theory and practice, regulating and managing the health sector and special healthcare organizations, and international experiences in health system reforms. Lectures are conducted by prominent Harvard professors from the School of Public Health, the Medical School and the Kennedy School of Government, influential health care directors from the greater Boston areas, and distinguished public sector leaders, including former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

The last day of the program at HSPH is reserved for a symposium on China’s health sector reforms and management. Participants are divided into small study groups and each group is assigned a specific topic related to a major area of concern that they have identified. During the symposium, the participants present and discuss their “group diagnosis” on the critical issues they have researched. These diagnoses are documented in a formal report and delivered to the Chinese Ministry of Health.