Peter Berman

Adjunct Professor of Global Health

Department of Global Health and Population

Brief Bio

Prof. Peter Berman (M.Sc, Ph.D) is a health economist with more than forty years of experience in research, policy analysis and development, and training and education in global health.  On January 1, 2019, Professor Berman will become Director, School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Prof. Berman is currently Adjunct Professor of Global Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He leads several innovative projects on developing primary care systems, strengthening service delivery, health system reform, and improving health care financing mechanisms for better outcomes, with a focus, recently, on work in Ethiopia, India, and Malaysia. Currently most active is the Fenot Project in Ethiopia. Other recent projects include RTM and HEPCAPS. Prof. Berman is also adjunct professor at the Public Health Foundation of India and has been advisor to the China National Health Development Research Center for health care financing and health accounts.

He is the founding Faculty Director of Harvard Chan’s Doctor of Public Health degree (from 2013-2017). The Harvard DrPH is an innovative professional doctoral degree offering a unique combination of advanced academic training and leadership and practice development. He was previously Director of Education for Global Health and Population in the Department of Global Health and Population. Until 2016 he chaired the Financing Technical Working Group of the Countdown to 2015.

With the World Bank from 2004-2011, Prof. Berman spent four years in the Bank’s New Delhi office as Lead Economist for Health, Nutrition, and Population. There he oversaw a portfolio of almost $2 billion in projects and research. In Washington, D.C from 2008, he was Lead Health Economist in the HNP anchor department and Practice Leader for the World Bank’s Health Systems Global Expert Team. He led analytical work on health systems analysis and strategic approaches to improving service delivery.

Previously at Harvard Prof. Berman was Professor of Population and International Health Economics and Founding Director of the International Health Systems Program (IHSP) in the Population and International Health Department. He is the author or editor of five books on global health economics and policy, more than 50 academic papers in his field, and numerous other working papers and reports. He has led and/or participated in major field programs in all regions of the developing world.

Prof. Berman’s specific areas of work include analysis of health systems performance and the design of reform strategies, assessment of the supply side of health care delivery and the role of private health care provision in health systems, and development of strategies to improve outcomes through public-private sector collaboration. He pioneered the development and use of national health accounts as a policy and planning tool in developing countries. Prof. Berman has worked extensively on health system reform and health care development issues in a number of countries, including Egypt, India, Colombia, Indonesia, and Poland, including extended periods of residency and field work in Indonesia and India. He is co-author of Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity (Roberts, et al, Oxford University Press, 2008), co-editor of the Guide to the Production of National Health Accounts (World Bank, World Health Organization, and USAID, 2003), and co-editor of Berman and Khan, Paying for India’s Health Care (Sage, 1993).

Research Highlights

Strengthening health programs through better resource tracking and management. Research and policy development led by Prof. Berman focuses on how to improve health program performance through better health financing policies and practices in low and middle-income countries. The team developed and applied a “Resource Tracking and Management” (RTM) framework. The RTM framework provides an end-to-end health financing analysis by tracking resources, identifying bottlenecks, and applying policy solutions along 5 key steps of the flow of funds for health programs linked to key objectives. “Resources” include financing as well as physical inputs, such drugs and supplies and human resources.

Strategies for health system reform to improve outcomes.  Prof. Berman worked together with colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health 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. See, for example,  Berman, P. and R. Bitran (2011) “Health Systems Analysis for Better Health Systems Strengthening” HNP Discussion Paper, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

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.

See the Project Publications page to download all recent project publications from RTM, Fenot, and HEPCAPS. See the Publications page for a complete list of Professor Berman’s own papers and publications.


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