Orientation is required for all students and consists of six separate two-hour virtual sessions taken in the order that follows.

  • July 5, 2023 – Welcome and introduction to Harvard University
  • July 6, 2023 – Navigating the Canvas system and using Zoom
  • August 2, 2023 – Course expectations and deliverables
  • August 3, 2023 – Classroom norms
  • September 6, 2023 – Applied project preparation
  • September 7, 2023 – Pre-work for course 1

All orientation sessions are scheduled from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada).

Curriculum Approach

Interactive, case-based learning with peer group collaboration

Most of the courses are case based. The case method provides actual global nurse and midwife leadership situations that will be familiar to nurse and midwife leaders. Participants analyze the situations and recommend a course of action to resolve those situations familiar to nurse and midwife leaders in Africa.

Students will generate an applied project that begins in the first course and culminates in the final course under the direction of the course instructors and a project mentor.

Remote small-group and individual assignments using the internet and Canvas will be used to maximize flexibility for participants, while enhancing the value received from the program.


In-Person Courses Two in-person sessions of 5 days:
September 25 – 29, 2023 and
June 3 – 7, 2024 
Remote Course One five day week:
February 12 – 16, 2024


The curriculum consists of three separate courses taken in the order that follows. Descriptions and learning objectives for each course are provided below.

1. HGNL – Health Systems Strengthening (2.5 credits)
September 25 – 29, 2023

Rifat Atun, Professor of Global Health Systems

This course is designed to strengthen the role of nurse and midwife leaders in health systems, particularly in public health and primary care to achieve better health outcomes. It will cover approaches to analyzing health systems and their performance and explore how innovations in technologies, biomedicine, organizations, finance, and service delivery can be used to strengthen health systems. The course will help develop skills for health workforce strategy building for nurses and midwives, and for leadership and governance regarding strategic policy frameworks, oversight, regulations, and community engagement and development. Participants will work with key partners (e.g., mentors; ministers of health, finance, and education; and community health workers) to ensure excellence in developing the right skills and knowledge to strengthen health systems. The course will be delivered in nine three-hour sessions with pre- and post-course work. Learning objectives include the following:

  1. Describe the fundamentals of systems thinking
  2. Analyze major changes in context, such as demographic, epidemiological transitions, economic, socio-cultural and technological trends, that influence health systems and their performance
  3. Apply analytic frameworks to evaluate health system outcomes, outputs and functions and examine policies used to achieve improved performance in relation to equity, efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness to achieve defined objectives for health system outputs
  4. Critically analyze health systems, using systems thinking principles, for better health outcomes and progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, universal health coverage, and the global health security agenda
  5. Analyze approaches that can be used to effectively integrate the latest technological and biomedical innovations in health systems
  6. Appraise different approaches used to design and sustain high value health systems
  7. Strengthen leadership capacity to formulate actions to effectively drive organizational innovation through distributed health systems

2. HGNL – Population Health Management (2.5 credits)
February 12 – 16, 2024

Stephanie Ferguson, HGNL Program Director, Professor of the Practice of Health Policy and Management

The course is designed to examine and develop strategies to improve health within and across populations. Participants will study patterns of health determinants, population and primary health care management principles, decision science for public health nursing, policies and interventions, health metrics, and public health outcomes. Learning objectives include the following:

  1. Identify determinants of population health that impact health outcomes in a community.
  2. Apply the essentials of public health practice to design low-cost interventions in collaboration with key partners at national, state, district, and local public health agencies.
  3. Lead the formation and management of contemporary health care systems that consist of, and rely upon, diverse stakeholders in the organization and delivery of community-based models of care.
  4. Articulate and apply frameworks for collecting, analyzing and using data to inform decisions, facilitate care coordination, and improve health outcomes of targeted populations within and outside the health system.

3. HGNL – Reforming Policies and Regulations: Enhancing Access and Redesigning Health Systems (2.5 credits)
June 3 – 7, 2024

David Benton, CEO, National Council of the States Board of Nursing

For more than a decade there has been research-based calls to modernize the regulation of health professions. Initially these came from the professions themselves (Morrison and Benton, 2009; Benton et al., 2013; Gross et al. 2015).  In 2017 a global landmark-study identified emergent trends and proposed changes designed to transform the current industrial era model to one fit for today’s complex, digital, mobile world (Benton and Alexander, 2017).  More recently the highest echelons of government have also identified the need for professional regulatory reform and strengthening (G20 Meeting of Health Minister, 2018; World Health Organization 2019).  These demands have been amplified by the experiences brought by responding to the COVID’19 pandemic (Benton et al 2020).

This course focuses on the application of emerging regulatory science to the real-life operational and strategic challenges facing nursing, midwifery, and professional regulators seeking to design or transform their health systems to improve access and deliver contemporary health services to all. Participates will gain the necessary knowledge to plan, implement, and evaluate action learning-based policy analysis and regulatory reform. The course will be delivered in nine three-hour sessions with pre- and post-course work expected. Learning objectives include the following:

  1. Critically analyze strengths and weaknesses of the current professional regulatory model within the context of jurisdictional, regional, and international health priorities.
  2. Identify and engage key stakeholders in building a collation focused on regulatory change to support health improvement and service redesign.
  3. Design optimal legislative and regulatory solutions to support governmental priorities that increase access to services and the sustainable supply of the continuum of practitioners.
  4. Initiate and facilitate dialogue that present succinct and impactful briefings to inform policy makers, key stakeholders, and lay audiences.
  5. Build a network of advocates that can leverage and amplify regulatory change across jurisdictions through normative standards and consistent guidance.

Leadership, Innovation, and Negotiation

The leadership, innovation, and negotiation theme will be woven into all three courses. The focus will be on how to lead effectively with public health in mind, especially during a crisis, and how to spur innovation through nurturing a culture of intrapreneurship.