Comparative Health Systems and Policy


HAD5011H or CHL5300H


Each country’s health system and policies are largely shaped by historical, political, social and economic contexts; but in general, they have similar challenges such as rising expenditures, limited accessibility, poor patient responsiveness, limited coordination across the health continuum and public health and health system threats from both communicable and non-communicable diseases. This comparative health systems and policy course is intended to capture the rapidly expanding field of comparative studies in health systems and policy. It will provide a comprehensive theoretical and methodological foundation to understand why we compare health systems in different countries or provinces within a country and what we can learn from those comparisons. In the second part, the course will provide specific examples of health system and policy development in high income countries as well as low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Although this a taught course, the main requirement is to complete a major paper applying theoretical and methodological tools to a comparative health systems or comparative health policy case study including two or more jurisdictions (a province/state and/or country).

Objectives and Competencies

  1. A comprehensive understanding of a range of conceptual and theoretical issues relevant to comparative health systems and policies.

  2. An understanding of health system structures and typologies and the ability to use typologies when comparing health systems.

  3. An understanding of some of the key health system and policy differences and similarities among high income and LMIC countries.

  4. A developed ability to apply relevant concepts and theories to differing health systems or to comparative issues in health policy in general and to compare and contrast health policies across jurisdictions at each stage of the policy cycle.

  5. An ability to apply the ideas and methods learned in this course in a major research paper on a topic of interest to the student and that will hopefully be relevant to the student’s dissertation for those in the doctoral track.


Sara Allin

Sara Allin

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Xiaolin Wei

Xiaolin Wei

Accepting Students