International Health Systems Program  
Department of Global Health and Population
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Making Decentralization Work: Tools for Health Policy Makers and Managers

download an application (Microsoft Word Document will take a moment to load)
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
August 8 - 19, 2016


This course is designed for senior managers and policy makers who might not be able to attend lengthy degree courses in health policy and management. The issues encountered designing, implementing and managing a decentralization transition include: financial, strategic, and quality management, monitoring and evaluation, and teambuilding. Experienced Harvard faculty members have developed this two-week comprehensive workshop to better equip policy makers and managers to meet those challenges. The first week will address the policy level process while the second week will focus on enhancing management skills in the context of decentralization.

Participants will be learning from experience gained in the United States, as well as many other countries of the world.

Course Topics

  • Health System Decentralization: Policy Options
  • Finance and Expenditure Overview
  • Introduction to Decentralization Framework
  • Human Resources in Decentralized Health Systems:
  • "Policy Maker," Managing the Political Process
  • Strategic Management and Quality Management
  • Leadership
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • Managing Organizational Change

Who Should Attend

This workshop has been designed for experienced, senior managers and policy-makers in developing and transitional economies. Officials who are concerned about implementing greater managerial autonomy in previously rigid government bureaucracies will find the experience very useful. Policy makers and managers will be expected from both government and non-government organizations.

Educational Approach

This workshop offers a blend of theory and practice, geared to an audience that is focused upon implementation rather than research. The workshop will include lectures, discussion groups, case studies, problem sets and preparation of group and individual case presentations. Classroom points will most often be made through active learning methods, rather than through lectures. Lively discussion among experienced participants is expected throughout. Participants are encouraged to bring their own country material and resources on health systems related to the process of decentralization and management.

About the Course Directors

Dr. Thomas Bossert and Dr. Paul Campbell serve as workshop directors. Dr. Bossert will lecture on decentralization. He is a Lecturer on Health Policy and Senior Political Scientist in the Department of Global Health and Population, and the director of the Politics Governance Group and International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has directed technical assistance projects and applied research in Latin America, Asia and Africa on decentralization, institutional transformation and health policy reform.

Dr. Campbell will lecture on strategic management. He is a lecturer on management in the Departments of Global Health and Population, and Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a former president of the Maine Center for Public Health, and through that agency is responsible for federal - state collaborative projects. He has nearly thirty years of experience as a manager, consultant and teacher in the health field, in the U.S. as well as overseas. He has managed multi-year Harvard projects in health sector reform in Poland, and managed care in Zimbabwe. He directs a number of executive training courses in health administration.

Previous Lecturers:

Peter A. Berman, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Population and International Health Economics
Harvard School of Public Health

Barry C. Dorn, M.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Health Care Negotiation Associates
Associate Director of Program for Health Care Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Harvard School of Public Health

David G. Javitch, Ph.D.
President, Javitch Associates
Adjunct Assistant Professor on Health Policy and Management
Harvard School of Public Health

Ann Lawthers, Sc.D.
Director of Quality, Office of Clinical Affairs
Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
University of Massachusetts Medical School

Gregory P. Marchildon, Ph.D.
Canada Research Chair in Public Policy and Economic History
University of Regina

  What Alumni Are Saying....

"I found the course Making Decentralization Work very useful in terms of learning the ropes of managing the decentralization process of health services with a view to modernizing, streamlining and reducing government structures, transferring power to locally elected officials and to community leaders, increasing involvement of the private sector and bringing in new actors such as non-governmental organizations (NGO's)."

Matar Camara, Child Survival, Decentralization and Health Financing Specialist, USAID - Senegal.