Program Pedagogy

“A very powerful experience that surpassed all my expectations.”

—Eric Litvak, Scientific Director, Healthcare Management and Governance Laboratory, Montérégie, Canada

Program Pedagogy: The Five Modules

The International Masters for Health Leadership (IMHL) is a 15-month program of five 12-day modules, followed by a master's paper, leading to the degree of Master of Management.

Each module focuses on a particular leadership mindset. Between modules participants return to the workplace where they apply the pedagogy and insights of the program. We encourage them to focus on the impact they want to create throughout the program. Following the five modules there is a period in which the final paper is written with the guidance of an advisor. This last phase can be done from anywhere in the world.

  • Module 1: 27 October-7 November, 2019
  • Module 2: 3-13 February , 2020
  • Module 3: 1-11 June, 2020
  • Module 4: 4-16 October, 2020 (in London, England)
  • Module 5: 18-28 January, 2021

Module 1 - The Reflective Mindset: Broadening Perspectives

The Reflective Mindset is designed to help participants gain a better understanding of their personal management style - how they present themselves to others, their strengths and weaknesses, and their current leadership skills. Participants learn how to be thoughtful and reflective, to step back from always doing, to see familiar experiences from a new perspective.

Module 1: Reflective MindsetModule 1: Reflective Mindset

Module 2 - The Analytic Mindset: Leading Organizations

The Analytic Mindset provides an overview of today's principal health care organizations including health promoting hospitals, community agencies, health maintenance organizations, etc. Participants gain insight into the operation of these organizations by analyzing their intrinsic similarities and differences. Participants are also introduced to the analytical tools used to manage specific organizations and to formal approaches that improve managerial effectiveness. Key concepts in accounting, people management and organizational strategy stimulate participants to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of their own organization. Strategy, structure, sourcing and delivery are explored in a systematic way that allows participants to view the managing process as a melding of art, craft and science. 

Module 2: Analytic MindsetModule 2: Analytic Mindset

Module 3 -The Worldly Mindset: Navigating the System

The delivery of health care is rooted within highly complex systems that vary enormously across the world - from fully socialized to market-driven. Yet every system struggles with where it should sit on this continuum. Because most practitioners - whether managers or clinicians - typically spend their careers within a single system, they rarely have the opportunity to appreciate the alternatives. The third module focuses on these contextual "systems", exploring the various social institutions within the health care field and their interactions with economic, political and social forces. The goal is to increase understanding of the dynamics of "system change". Participants are encouraged to seek creative solutions based on an integrated, rather than a fragmented understanding of health care. Participants also explore in greater depth the interactions between economics and health, and the possibilities for leveraging change within complex systems.

Module 3: Wordly MindsetModule 3: Wordly Mindset

Module 4 - The Collaborative Mindset: Appreciating Work Relationships

In this module, participants focus on managing relationships with patients, professionals, health advocates, administrators, the government, the media and many other groups. Skill development includes relationship-building, negotiating, stakeholder coordination, and knowledge management. The managing of professional relationships is emphasized, with participants developing the advanced skills necessary to build and lead complex networks rather than simple organizations. The integration of knowledge from multiple disciplines and perspectives is also examined.

Module 4: Collaborative MindsetModule 4: Collaborative Mindset

Module 5 - The Catalytic Mindset: Achieving Change

The final module is action-focused, integrative in nature, focusing on the achievement of change. The impact projects on which participants have worked throughout the program are given considerable attention. Successful health management cases are reviewed and the action implications of adaptive management are explored. Other key areas of study include: integrated and sustainable approach to health; the notion of prevention and its applied dissemination; effective intervention within the policy environment; positive/negative outcomes of media exposure in health policy; and the notions of evaluation and accountability. Participants integrate and synthesize the knowledge they have acquired during the preceding modules. The program closes with in-depth consideration of the process of transformation leadership and what it means to lead comprehensively, analytically, collaboratively, contextually, catalytically and reflectively.

Module 5: Catalytic MindsetModule 5: Catalytic Mindset


In addition to the five modules, the IMHL uses a variety of novel elements to enhance the learning experience.  A key principle of the program is "use work, don't make work."


The Impact aspect of the program can be a strategic project running in tandem with the five modules or it can be a focus on change in an organization or context during the course of the program. Participants engage in an activity of their (or their sponsoring organization's) own choosing with the objective of affecting significant change within their organization or community. It may be undertaken as either a solo project or, in the case of group participation from an organization or otherwise identifiable community, as a team effort. Teams may be formed from a geographical health authority (i.e. an interdisciplinary team from South Africa), or from a specific component within the health care system (i.e. a prevention team from Québec). 

The project may be targeted (e.g. how to diffuse IMHL learning to other managers within the organization or community), or general (e.g. how to better integrate prevention into an overall health system). The focus on impact may be carried forward to the master’s degree final paper. Final reports that derive from the master’s paper may ultimately be presented to the sponsoring organization, at appropriate health care conventions and/or in leading health care publications.

Reflection Papers

Participants submit Reflection Papers following each of the first four modules relating the theories and learnings from the program to real aspects of their work environment. There is also a reflection paper following the Managerial Exchange. These provide an opportunity to explore job-related challenges in depth.
A member of the program's faculty is assigned to each participant to offer Advising/Tutoring for reflection papers and the managerial exchange as well as 2-3 other members of the cohort, identify appropriate areas of self-study and provide support for the final paper. These tutor groups also contribute valuable insight into the ongoing evolution of the program content and design.

Managerial Exchange

Each participant spends the better part of a few days on a Managerial Exchange, observing a fellow participant at work, in as different a setting as possible (with regard to geography and culture as well as industry and job). That visit is returned, so that each participant acts as both host and guest. Prior training in the skill of observation prepares everyone for the visits. Toward the end of the visiting period, the guest manager gives a report to the host and three or four weeks later, after completing both visitor and host sections, writes a longer paper on the whole experience. Clinicians are asked to arrange time in their institutions for their guest to observe those in managerial positions. Time as well as resources need to be factored during the 16-month program to complete the Managerial Exchange.

Graeme Zaki, Medical Director, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, UK (Transcribed Video)

Reflection is an essential part of the course. Now that was something relatively new to me as a medical director perhaps particularly as a surgeon, one tends to be making decisions getting on with the job.

It is really good, to be able to spend some time thinking about what one has done in the previous day, what is one bringing to the table. Sharing it with yourself, and then sharing it with your colleagues initially on the table and but quite frequently within the big group. As the modules went on, the confidence that, that gave you, and sharing that with the colleagues was something very strong and enriching.

Renaat Peleman, Chief Medical Officer University Hospital Ghent, Belgium (Transcribed Video)

One of the most interesting things was the managerial exchange project that we did. I partnered up with somebody from United Kingdom. He visited my place I visited his place, and we both discovered a completely different culture in the organisation. And this made me think of the culture in my own organisation. This made me look at my organisation with different eyes. I will partner up with the other people in next couple of years and visit them, to see how they are doing in their own work place, just for my own interest. Because I found it hugely interesting.

Self-Study and Final Paper

Self-Study enables participants to learn the "language of management", focusing especially on financial management, so that classroom sessions can begin at a higher level. The Final Paper is a small thesis written under the supervision of a faculty advisor at the conclusion of the last module. Participants have 6 months in which to complete the final paper. It is required to complete the degree of Master of Management.

Leslie Breitner Professor, McGill University

The workshops that we do that are interspersed with each session help to get the participants together with us to use the conceptual material in real time. And the feedback loops are like nothing I have experienced. We get their feedback, so at the same time that we are trying to teach them something, we are learning from them. That makes the teaching so dynamic and we can widen the experience that they have in the classroom.

Sonia Chehil, Mental Health Advisor, Ministry of Health, Guyana

My core interest is, of course, in health. I was struggling between doing a Master’s program in public health, versus an MBA versus the IMHL. I actually thought that the IMHL married Public health and the MBA quite well. And I am glad to say I think it actually did. They took the core pieces that I was interested in and put them together. Had I just done a Master’s in public health I wouldn’t have been able to grow as a manager in the same way as I have through the IMHL. If I had just done an MBA I wouldn’t have grown much as a leader as I have through doing the IMHL. So I think that the IMHL has very nicely married the core that I wanted from public health as well as from an MBA.

Classroom experience

Particular attention is paid to the classroom experience in the program. Participants sit at round tables which allow for interactive discussion. A 50/50 rule allows for half the class time to be turned over to participants and their agendas. Unique seating arrangements that pay particular attention to active listening characterize the classroom (See Henry Mintzberg's TWOG.)

Every day begins with a morning reflection — personal time for writing down thoughts and insights that have come up since the previous day, followed by discussion around each of the tables, and an open-ended plenary discussion.

“The IMHL engages people in a way that changes their lives. The class becomes a strong community, which helps participants to revitalize themselves, their organizations, their management practices, in and beyond their communities. No one who has visited our classroom wants to go anywhere else for a development program in health care.” - Professor Henry Mintzberg, IMHL Faculty Director

Three stages of Morning Reflections: solo, small group and big circle

Functional Components 001

Functional Components 002

Functional Components 002

Ted's Talk

Here is what Theodore (Ted) Marmor, Professor Emeritus at Yale University and director of the Worldly Mindset module, wrote about the program:

Ted Marmor"I have taught for about a decade in the Harvard Kennedy School program for senior fellows. I have taught at the executive program in health policy and management at Columbia's School of Public Health, and given lots of talks around the world. 

So, where does that leave me? The IMHL is better structured to bring the participants to a realistic view of management and decision-making than any other program with which I have been associated. The program is cross-disciplinary, cross-border, and cross-experience, with an emphasis on comparative perspectives from people with different starting points. The five mindsets are sensibly distinguished and attended to rather than privileging one or another approach, whether psychological, marketing, political or whatever. I have come back again and again because I believe this is serious education, not trying to milk the cash cow of executive education."



IMHL has an alliance with the Canadian College of Health Leaders.