The International Leadership Development Program for Physicians

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Attending the International Leadership Development Program for Physicians was the best decision I have made regarding my career growth in a long time. The curriculum, structure of program delivery, the organisers and course instructors all blended excellently, leading to a magnificent course that helped me enhance my leadership and program quality improvement skills.
  • —Sarah Asiimwe, MBChB, MPH
  • Public Health and M & E Specialist, The Global Fund
  • Switzerland

Program Overview

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Develop the knowledge and skills you need to effectively lead your health care organization.

Physicians are often selected for senior leadership positions based on clinical expertise. No matter the setting, these expanded roles require knowledge of critical management skills and leadership practices, which are not typically part of physician training.

This executive education program brings together a peer group of physician leaders from a variety of health care settings around the world who face similar challenges. Harvard experts and industry leaders provide focused leadership and management training, ensuring participants are prepared to direct change and drive value within their organizations and communities.

During this highly interactive course, participants will engage with each other and expert faculty in small groups, experiential activities, and full-class discussions, allowing for an open exchange of ideas to address the challenges inherent in creating a healthy population, quality health care, and maintaining cost effectiveness.

As a participant, you will:

  • Develop a deeper awareness of your own leadership strengths and development opportunities
  • Enhance your strategy, negotiation, conflict management, peer and team management and other key leadership skills
  • Expand your understanding of responsibilities and options as a manager of a  clinical department, service, or program and as a senior institutional leader
  • Learn strategies and tactics to lower costs and improve operations while increasing quality and safety
  • Advance knowledge and skills in the art and science of improvement, allowing each participant the opportunity to immediately apply the skills they learn to a selected improvement project during the program
  • Visit and engage with change agents in high performing health care delivery organizations in the greater Boston area
  • All while innovating and developing new and better ways of delivering care to meet the needs of patients and employees

You will also have the opportunity to learn from the Harvard case-based style of learning, which provides a deep understanding of how leadership concepts apply to everyday situations in settings around the world.

Improve Health Care, Experience, and Value

As part of the program, each participant will identify and develop a plan for an improvement project connected to her or his organization’s business plan. Each participant will identify a key area of change prior to the start of the program, submit the idea to faculty for review, and actively work on the project during the program and beyond.

The improvement project may be in any one of three categories:

  • Improving quality of care and services
  • Reducing costs while maintaining or improving quality
  • Expanding patient or customer satisfaction with the development of new services or innovative ways of providing existing services

Throughout the program you will work with faculty and participant colleagues to refine and further develop your project, so that you can implement the project when you return home. Whether you work at a public health delivery site, a government agency, or another setting, this collaboration will enable you to move forward with an actionable plan to improve performance.

The design of this program allows participants to achieve results by immediately applying the skills they learn to everyday work experiences. This combination of theory applied to daily work makes the program unique and provides a foundation for making improvements long after the program is completed.

Harvard faculty in the program will assist you before and during the program, guiding you through the steps required for successful change. You will work with Harvard faculty and your peers to advance your implementation goals by applying learning from the classroom in the context of your home environment.

Learn from Experts in the Field

This applied program is designed and led by Harvard Chan School faculty who are recognized experts in improving health care in diverse settings around the world. The faculty will work with you on how learnings are applicable and tailorable to your specific health care setting. You will leave this program with the tools and strategies to be a more effective manager and leader and to make a greater impact on executing successful change when you return home. Topics explored during this program include:

  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Financial analysis and cost control
  • Generating and sustaining innovation
  • Leadership
  • Creating and managing change
  • Negotiation
  • Team building and performance
  • Organizational strategy
  • Patient safety and engagement
  • Quality improvement methods and tools

As a participant, you will visit a high performing health care delivery organization that serves a diverse population in the Greater Boston area. Through this visit, you will meet with successful innovators to experience how highly effective leadership can improve care, health, and value. This is an unparalleled opportunity to discuss the issues you face as a health care leader with colleagues and experts who are meeting these challenges.

Objectives & Highlights

This program covers both the theory and application of leadership and management skills for physician leaders. Throughout the program, participants will engage with individuals from different international health systems who are all facing similar health care challenges.

Learning Objectives

  • Apply broad strategic knowledge of the health care system in which you work to plan and implement changes in health care delivery at the organizational and unit level
  • Articulate your highest priorities as a leader in a health care organization
  • Demonstrate insight into, and appreciation of, the external challenges and changes occurring in health care systems worldwide as well as options for effective responses
  • Employ concepts and frameworks in key disciplines, including, patient safety, quality improvement, innovation, financial management and control, and performance improvement
  • Apply improvement methods when diagnosing and solving problems
  • Employ best practices on leading and managing health care organizations
  • Deploy change management skills

Program Support

Harvard will provide ongoing support during the program, guiding you through the steps required for successful change and spread. With the support of and interaction with faculty, coaches, and peers, you will apply classroom learnings to the context of your home environment and culture.

Credits and Logistics

Please note: A laptop or other portable personal computing device is strongly recommended for course enrollees.


Program Location

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
FXB Building
651 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Program check-in and the first week of sessions will be held at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The School is located in the heart of the Harvard Longwood Campus in Boston. Public transportation is readily available to the city’s many shopping districts, museums, and restaurants.

For directions, please click here.

Continuing Education Credit

All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation upon completion of the program.

Who Should Participate

This program is designed for physician health care executives and emerging leaders from around the world, including:

  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Chief Medical Officers
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Chiefs of Staff
  • Clinical Department Directors
  • Executive Directors
  • Medical Directors
  • Medical Superintendents
  • Vice Presidents
  • Other executives whose responsibilities require them to allocate substantial resources, develop policies, and provide organizational leadership and direction for personnel

Past attendees have come from six continents and 25 different countries, ranging from Norway to Brazil to Australia to Nigeria.

Registration Criteria

A Doctor of Medicine (MD) or equivalent (DO, MBBS, MBChB, BMed, etc.) is required for participation in this program. Fluency in written and spoken English is also required.

Early registration is encouraged, as space is limited, and programs often fill quickly.

Develop an Unmatched Network of International Health Care Leaders

Program participants will be physician leaders who are change agents and innovators from around the world, brought together by their commitment to improving health care through effective leadership. By assembling physicians who are changing the health care delivery system in their home countries, this course provides the unique opportunity to develop productive alliances and enduring partnerships with your fellow physician executives.

This program offers a small, personal setting where you will learn from your fellow executive education colleagues, as well as program faculty as you exchange valuable insights and best practices. You will leave Harvard having developed a global network of leading executives you can rely on for guidance as you return home and implement what you learned.


Religious and Cultural Accommodations

Participants in this program have diverse social and religious affiliations. We aim to make the program as accommodating as possible in order to meet participants’ cultural and religious needs.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently opened a new space for prayer, meditation, and quiet reflection that will be open during the program. Religious institutions, including a mosque, temple, and church are also within walking distance of the program location. Meal selection and timing will also be adjusted when possible to accommodate participants’ needs.