Harvard welcomes global health ministers

Dr. Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women and former president and health minister of Chile

Dr. Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women and former president and health minister of Chile

June 6, 2012 — The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) welcomed 16 ministers of health from Africa, Asia and Latin America to the first Ministerial Health Leaders Forum program this week at HKS.

The ministers have been selected for their demonstrated leadership and commitment to strengthening health systems and improving health outcomes. The three-day program is designed to stimulate innovative thinking about leadership effectiveness and to examine international experience in health systems’ reform.

The Forum is the flagship element of the new Ministerial Leadership in Health Program which aims to strengthen the effectiveness of ministerial leadership as a key component in sustainable health systems’ improvement. This Program is a joint initiative of the HSPH and HKS with the support of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

“Improving health care delivery and system effectiveness at an affordable cost is a challenge facing institutions and nations around the world,” says HKS Dean David T. Ellwood. “The Harvard Health Leaders program will serve to facilitate the exchange of ideas and the development of exciting new approaches to health care system reform.”

The June Ministerial Health Leaders’ Forum will be led by senior faculty of the HSPH and the HKS together with a group of seven distinguished former and long serving ministers of health from around the world with substantial experience in reform efforts.

“Political leadership is crucial to developing strong, sustainable health systems,” says HSPH Dean Julio Frenk, who is also the former minister of health of Mexico.  “A growing number of countries around the world are successfully improving key health outcomes for their people.  The Harvard Ministerial Forum will create opportunities for ministers to share experiences and learn about successful health systems reform efforts.  They will explore new ideas in critical areas such as health financing, priority setting, increased efficiency in health delivery, and transformational leadership.”

photo: Aubrey LaMedica