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


Strengthening Human Resources for Health

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Boston, Massachusetts, USA
June 13 - 24, 2016


You've read about the priority of human resources development in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in such publications as The Lancet and The New York Times (see references below). This suscessful course is specifically designed to address that priority by providing participants with new and innovative ways of addressing human resources policy and management issues. Individuals and country teams will learn from experts as well as peers from other nations and will develop their own draft country Strategic Plans for Human Resources.

The MDG health objectives require a focus on human resources, critical to reducing infant and maternal mortality, as well as the incidence of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. A lack of human resources capacity is a major barrier to the achievement of these MDGs. Health officials in all countries need to recruit and retain skilled health workers at all levels. They also need to strengthen educational and management systems and to creatively finance all of the above.

This course has been designed for health officials who will be involved in formulating country strategies. Until recently human resources training has focused on personnel management and on static models of planning for the public sector. This course, however, has been formulated to incorporate new and innovative strategies that include both the public and private sectors.

Specifically, participants attending this course will learn:

  • How to effectively assess problems related to human resource development
  • New strategies to overcome barriers such as "brain drain" and poor motivation
  • Introduction to Decentralization Framework
  • How to turn funding for disease priorities into human resources strengthening activities
  • Specific lessons from relevant experience in other countries; as well as
  • Critical leadership, negotiation and conflict resolution strategies

Course Topics

  • Strategic Planning and Human Resources
  • Financing Capacity for Human Resources
  • Management Control and Human Resources
  • Health Status and Human Resources activities
  • Management Capacity and Human Resources
  • Leadership and Institutional Change
  • Education Capacity and Human Resources
  • Conflict Resolution for Human Resources

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for experienced, senior public health officials and staff in developing and transitional economies who are involved in managing, developing strategies and in setting policy for human resources development. Applicants from both government and non-governmental organizations will benefit from this course. We encourage participation by teams of participants who can work together in the course to develop draft strategic plans for their own countries.

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 serves as course co-director. He is director of the International Health Systems Program at the Harvard School of Public Health as well as 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. He developed a Capacity Assessment and Sequencing Tool for Human Resources in Health for the WHO and applied it in Ethiopia. Additionally, he has directed technical assistance projects and applied research in Latin America, Asia, and Africa on decentralization, institutional transformation, and health policy reform.

Dr. Paul Campbell serves as course co-director. He is deputy director of the International Health Systems Program in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health as well as a lecturer on Management in the Department of Health Policy and Management. He has managed multi-year projects on health sector reform in Poland, and managed care in Zimbabwe. Dr. Campbell has extensive experience designing and leading workshops on various health management topics. Past sponsors for his courses include a number of agencies in the U.S. government, the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, and the Hinduja Foundation.

1 Chen, L., T. Evans, S. Anand, et al. "Human Resources for Health: Overcoming the Crisis. In The Lancet, 27 November 2004: pp. 1984-1990. Dugger, Celia W. "Lacking Doctors, Africa is Training Substitutes." The New York Times, 23 November, 2004.

  What Alumni Are Saying....

--"I have gained a lot during these 2 weeks. And they are practical skills that I can apply back home. The course participants presentations also provide more insight into other countries challenges and how they are trying to resolve it strategically."
--"What I achieved in this course was so much higher than what I was expected. The classes were very well conducted and the way of teaching was also good. I am very optimistic of the useful of the material."
-- "This program gives me a really good tools. Particularly for me it's a very good introduction to the new post at national level. I do think that the skills I gained will be very useful for my future work and at the MOH."
--"Interactive nature of sessions and variety of teaching methods - great! Also many strategies were geared toward Africa, where works is clearly underway regarding HRH issues."

Participants of the 2005 Human Resources Course.