Stethoscope and Globe

IMIx Certificate of Effective Healthcare Management: Contributing to the healthcare sector in Africa

Claire Westgate

IMIx, the Executive Education division at the University of Toronto’s Institute for Management and Innovation (IMI) is thrilled to announce the launch of the new Certificate of Effective Healthcare Management, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.

The goal? To contribute to the future of the healthcare sector, and increase the number of women working in healthcare in Africa, by 2030.  This ambitious objective is to be achieved through collaboration among interdisciplinary global thinkers and leading practitioners, paired with provision of programming at a novel breadth and depth in executive healthcare education.  The Certificate is designed to collaborate with eight partner institutes from across Africa, enabling the development of advanced leadership and management skills in leading healthcare professionals.

Implemented by the University of Toronto, the Certificate is part of the Mastercard Foundation’s African Higher Education Health Collaborative which focuses on three pillars: employment, entrepreneurship, and health ecosystems.   IMI’s ICUBE is working to engage in the entrepreneurship space, while the IMIx Certificate supports health ecosystems.  The vision of the Collaborative is ultimately to support equitable, inclusive “healthcare delivery in Africa, by Africans, for Africans”[1].

“IMI was originally asked to consider how the Institute might put forward educational proposals to support Mastercard Foundation’s efforts to benefit students in Africa”, says Professor Len Brooks, Director of IMIx.  After exploring various options for partnership, IMIx, with their microcredentials (relatively short, non-degree programs) and structure, offered an attractive pathway to educate the highest number of individuals in the most effective way.  “Our microcredentials are able to educate many more individuals for the total cost incurred because they are delivered via zoom from Toronto to learners in Africa, who attend sessions in the evening, without the necessity of travel, and can maintain their day-to-day work and family lives”, says Brooks. 

IMIx’s Certificate is unique by design, says Saima Zulqarnain, Program Manager: “in traditional executive education, there is a focus on discipline-based skill sets. This Certificate, however, takes executive education to a new level where participants gain an overview of functional areas within a robust industry and country context, with exposure to global leaders hailing from countries around the world.”  The idea, she says, is to merge practice and industry expertise with management, and to ultimately create a powerful network of advanced leaders who can eliminate health disparities and shape the future of healthcare in Africa.

Learners in the inaugural cohort – 52 leading practitioners and managers, 48% of whom are women, based in Ghana, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda – are affiliated with a local institute, and aim to achieve an overarching birds-eye-view perspective of management as it pertains to the industry, while exploring content relevant to their unique context.  The Certificate cost is borne by the Mastercard Foundation for cohorts of 50 students per year, for at least six years.

Over the next nine months, learners will engage once a week in seven main areas of learning:

  • Healthcare Governance, Ethics and Culture
  • Healthcare Strategy and Critical Thinking Processes
  • Risk Management in Healthcare
  • Effective Leadership in Healthcare
  • Healthcare Finance, Reporting and Scorecards
  • Forensic Considerations for Healthcare 
  • Big Data Analysis for Healthcare

Notably, says Brooks, IMIx “has arranged with several senior healthcare experts to offer guidance to our instructors with regard to issues and examples relevant to African healthcare”, enabling a delivery of content that is wide in scope, yet deep in applicability and specificity.  Dr. Rav Kumar, Special Advisor to the President and Principal and former Director for the new Centre for Medicinal Chemistry at UTM shares “I am thrilled to be involved with the planning and delivery of such a worthwhile program. Building the capabilities and skills of local leaders is essential for the robust development of effective health systems in Africa”.

Beyond the classroom, the monthly Healthcare Thought Leaders Speaker Series brings in global leaders to share research, insights and inspiration on relevant themes.  Dr. Margaret Kruk, Professor of Health Systems at Harvard University, kicked off the Series on February 2 with her talk on health systems quality.

Long term, it is the IMIx hope that this novel approach will result in a tremendous community of individuals across Africa and beyond those borders – doctors, managers, practitioners and lifelong learners who will foster a network of knowledge, friendship and bonds that will enable continued innovation in the field. 

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