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


Improving the Quality of Health Services

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Boston, Massachusetts, USA
October 3 - 14, 2016


Around the world governments are trying to assess and improve the quality of health services. These tasks are of even greater importance in those countries where the responsibility for providing health care is being decentralized and the private sector in taking a steadily larger role. This course has been designed to improve the conceptual and practical skills of senior officials.

Specifically, participants attending this course will:

  • Learn an effective conceptual framework for the design of an overall health improvement system;
  • Learn to plan strategically for health system improvement;
  • Learn about the components of the "Quality Toolkit;"
  • Learn about specific methods for quality improvement including clinical practice guidelines; and
  • Learn how to strengthen the people aspects of the quality improvement process.

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

Course Topics

Content:  This two-week course will cover a number of topics related to improving the quality of care in health systems. While both theory and practice will be included, the emphasis will be on practical skill building.

Topics to be addressed:

  • Health Sector Reform and Its Relationship to Quality
  • Management Reform
  • Overview of Quality
  • Accreditation
  • Strategic Planning for Quality
  • Developing and Implementing Clinical Practice Guidelines
  • Human Resources
  • Organizational Change
  • Performance Contracting
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Who Should Attend

Persons committed to improving the quality of health services in resource-constrained environments, including both policy makers and senior health care managers, will find this workshop helpful. This course will be useful for country or regional leaders engaged in health sector reforms, especially those contracting for health services with private or quasi-governmental institutions. Only managers with strategic authority are appropriate from health care institutions including hospitals. An international perspective will be stressed. This course is not appropriate for people solely focused on work in the United States, or for individuals new to the health care field.

Educational Approach

The participants will be learning through short lectures and class discussions as well as small group and individual exercises. This course offers a blend of theory and practice, geared to an audience that is focused upon implementation rather than research. Classroom points will most often be made through active leaning methods, rather than through lectures. Lively discussion among experienced participants is expected throughout. Participants are encouraged to bring their own country material and resources related to Quality Management. This material will be utilized in individual or group projects that each participant is expected to pursue during the course.

About the Course Directors

Dr. Paul Campbell serves as course co-director. He is a lecturer on management in the International Health Systems Program in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as in the Department of Health Policy and Management. He is also a former president of the Maine Center for Public Health, and previously directed a statewide quality assurance program covering 180 long-term care facilities in the U.S. He has over 30 years of experience in the health field, as a manager, consultant and educator.

Dr. Pedro Saturno serves as course co-director. He is a physician and professor of public health at the School of Medicine in the University of Murcia (Spain). He is also director of a distance-learning Master in Quality Management in Health Services program, currently in its 12th edition. Previously he has served as Deputy Director General for Health Planning and Education at the Spanish Ministry of Health. He has also extensive experience as a consultant in quality management for international agencies such as WHO and USAID, and participated in several international task forces and committees on quality management, health prevention and education over the last twenty years.

  What Alumni Are Saying....

"This was an opportunity for the developing to meet the developed. An opportunity for both worlds to realize that they can learn from each other. I learnt a lot from Cambodia last year. This year I learnt about the devastation of the absence of strategy/planning for resource utilization - e.g., Georgia's abundance in Medics. Since coming back, I examine plans to see if they make any business sense. I have grown to be so analytical of my own work. Lastly, I discovered that despite all the weaknesses that my country has, the policies that SA [South Africa] has are amongst the best in the world. I hope to be back sometime."

Sibongile Zungu, Chief Director: Institutional Support Services, KwaZuluNatal Department of Health - South Africa (Quality class of 2002, Entrepreneurial Management Class of 2003)