Peter Berman

Peter Berman

Professor of the Practice of Global Health Systems and Economics
Director, GHP Educational Initiatives

Department of Global Health and Population

Brief Bio

Prof. Peter Berman (M.Sc, Ph.D) is a health economist with more than thirty years of experience in research, policy analysis and development, and training and education in global health. He taught at HSPH from 1991-2004 at which time he joined the World Bank. He retired from the World Bank in mid-2011.

While with the World Bank, Prof. Berman was Lead Health Economist in the HNP anchor department and Practice Leader for the World Bank’s Health Systems Global Expert Team from 2008-2011. From 2004-2008 he was based in the World Bank’s New Delhi office as Lead Economist for Health, Nutrition, and Population in India. He is Visiting Professor at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), New Delhi and advisor to the China National Health Development Research Center for health care financing and health accounts.

At HSPH from 1991-2004, Prof. Berman was Professor of the Practice of Population and International Health Economics, the founding director of the International Health Systems Program, and Principal Investigator for two global projects at Harvard:

  • The Data for Decision Making Project, a USAID cooperative agreement which Prof. Berman directed, and
  • The Partnerships for Health Reform, as sub-contractor to Abt Associates

He also led a multiyear study to develop National Health Accounts with the Government of Turkey and numerous other international research collaborations. Prof. Berman has been co-director of the HSPH-World Bank Institute Flagship Global Core Course on Health Sector Reform and Sustainable Financing and directed HSPH’s executive education programs in Public-Private Partnerships and National Health Accounts.

Prof. Berman lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his spouse Jenny Ruducha who is Research Scientist at Boston University’s Center for Global Health. They have three children and a spunky beagle.

Research Highlights

Strategies for health system reform to improve outcomes.  Prof. Berman worked together with colleagues at HSPH to develop a widely recognized framework for health systems that has been taught to about 20,000 course participants from middle and lower income countries in collaboration with the World Bank. He has applied this framework in studying health systems performance and designing reform strategies in Egypt, Poland, and India. Currently he is working on the development of better methods for Health Systems Analysis.

Berman, P. and R. Bitran (2011) “Health Systems Analysis for Better Health Systems Strengthening” HNP Discussion Paper, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Roberts, M. Hsiao, W., Berman, P. and M. Reich (2003) Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity, Oxford.

Berman, P. (ed.) Health Sector Reform in Developing Countries: Making Health Development Sustainable. Harvard Series on Population and International Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University Press, 1995, Boston. Appeared as special issue of Health Policy, 32(1-3), 1995.


Analysis of the supply side of health care systems. Dr. Berman has led path-breaking work to improve understanding of health care delivery in developing countries. This has included studies of community health workers, the scale and scope of non-government health care delivery, and the organization of health care provision systems in developing countries. Some relevant publications include:

Berman, P. , Pallas, S., Smith, A., Curry, L. and E. H. Bradley (2011), “Improving the Delivery of Health Services: A Guide to Choosing Strategies” HNP Discussion Paper, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Berman, P. (2000) “Organization of Ambulatory Health Care Services: A Critical Determinant of Health System Performance” Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 78(6):791-802, 2000.

Berman, P. (1998) “Rethinking Health Care Systems: Private Health Care Provision in India” World Development, 26 (8): 1463-1479.

Berman, P. and M. Chawla “A Model for Analyzing Strategic Use of Government Financing to Improve Health Care Provision” Partnerships for Health Reform, Harvard School of Public Health, April 1999.

Berman, P. (1997) “Supply-side Approaches to Optimizing Private Health Sector Growth” in Newbrander, W. (ed.) Private Health Sector Growth in Asia: Issues and Implications, Wiley, New York, 1997.

Berman, P., D. Gwatkin, and S. Burger.(1987) “Community-based Health Workers: Head Start or False Start Towards Health for All,” Social Science and Medicine, 25(5):443-459, 1987.


Research on health care financing and development and application of national health accounting (NHA) methods in developing countries. Prof. Berman originated the “Harvard method” for national health accounting in lower income countries and has initiated the development of regional networks for NHA development in Latin America, the Middle East, and East and Southern Africa. He developed “National Health Accounts v. 1.01 and v. 2″ (Berman and Cooper, authors), a Windows-based software program to assist in training, data organization, and data analysis that has been widely used. Prof. Berman co-authored the leading manual for health accounting in developing countries for WHO, the World Bank, and USAID, promoting a common global methodology for NHA and practical guidelines for its application in lower income countries. He has applied NHA methods to health financing analysis in Egypt, Turkey, India, Poland, and other countries and developed a health finance projection model based on the NHA framework.

World Bank, World Health Organization, and U.S. Agency for International Development,  A Guide to Producing National Health Accounts, 2003. (Project coordinator, co-author, and technical editor with Dan Waldo)

Berman, P. and D. Cooper. National Health Accounts V. 1.0 and 2.0. Partnerships for Health Reform, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, 2000.

Berman, P., R. Ahuja, L. Bhandari (2010), “The Impoverishing Effects of Health Care Payments in India: New Methodology and Findings” Economic and Political Weekly XLV:16 pp 65-71, April 17, 2010.

Berman, P. and R. Ahuja (2008) “Government Health Spending in India” Economic and Political Weekly, 43:26/27, June 28 – July 11, 2008.

Berman, P. (1997)“National Health Accounts in Developing Countries: Appropriate Methods and Recent Applications”, Health Economics, 6(1):11-30, 1997.


M.Sc., Ph.D., 1984, Cornell University