Global Business School for Health


Health Policy and Practice

Learn how health policies are shaped and set, to help you drive required changes within your organisation and plan implementation effectively.

The challenges facing health and healthcare are vast, complex and numerous. The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed numerous underlying fragilities in the sector, as well as growing health inequities in underlying risks of ill-health, access to care and outcomes across our populations. Other challenges include rising costs, inefficient management, demographic stresses, complex new technologies and the interface between public and private enterprises. All pose risks and opportunities that must be assessed by healthcare leaders and managers across the health sector. 

Health policies and practices frequently change to meet the evolution of healthcare services and public health goals. These health policies impact our practices at the local, national and international levels. Given the highly complex process of filtering health policy changes into our organisations at different levels, it is important to understand the various ways that health policy is shaped, as well as the numerous stakeholders with diverse needs and interests involved.

Health and healthcare managers need to understand how to manage health policies as they arise. This short online course builds these crucial competencies among healthcare leaders. Enabling the proactive management of policy reform while creating resilient learning organisations through change management, the programme builds solid foundations from which to steer healthcare settings forward.

What’s involved:

  • Drawing on a wide range of research and professional experience, this course develops a basis in health policy alongside practical application, using numerous case study examples.
  • In particular, you’ll look at the interdependencies within and outside particular health systems. You’ll also gain a detailed understanding of how health policies are crafted, gathering insights from different perspectives, as well as a range of practices and approaches. 
  • You will also obtain a foundation in change management techniques to get to grips with how you can impact the implementation and practices that evolve in an organisation in response to health policies.
  • As an action learning environment, this course provides a safe space for healthcare professionals to ask questions and interrogate content together. An effective way of assimilating new ideas and supporting deep learning, this dynamic approach also brings a greater capacity for developing high impact leadership in healthcare settings.

Who the programme is for

Our Health Policy and Practice short course is for managers across the health and healthcare sector, who have responsibility for areas of health policy and practice. You may work in human resources, in a clinical setting, policymaking or healthcare management. 
Or you may work in the private sector, in an industry related to health that requires an understanding of health policy and how to either take part in shaping health policies and/or implement them within your organisation.

Programme curriculum

This course is based on a contextualised approach to learning, with online lectures delivered by the course lead and UCL academics. This is supplemented by reading, participant discussion sessions and marked assignments. Much of the learning will be directed through real world case studies and project-based learning from your course lead (Dr Suzanne Wait), who is a healthcare expert. In addition, Professor Nora Colton, Director of the GSBH, will lead the final module on change management. 

You’ll learn material paced across three modules over a total of six weeks. Each module involves approximately 10 to 12 hours of content, which includes videos, reading, pre-recorded interviews with topic experts, discussion forum activities and project assignments. A weekly session with the course lead provides a great opportunity to pull learning together and get involved in group discussion. A Teaching Assistant will be assigned to provide ongoing support to participants.

Throughout the course, you will complete self-assessments such as multiple choice quizzes and unmarked reflection exercises to help you work through the material. To receive a certificate of completion for this course, you will complete all the marked assignments and unmarked self-assessments for each module. Marked assignments will include a mandatory discussion forum, short written assignments and a final project.  


Module 1: Health policy and practice - an introduction

This module looks at how evolving health policies have shaped our understanding and practice of health and healthcare, including an evaluation of historic and current health policy interventions in the UK and other health systems. Drawing from concrete case studies, it will cover core approaches to develop and analyse health policies, highlighting the importance of taking a systems approach to look at feasibility and impact on all aspects of health systems. It will also look at the role of different stakeholder groups in driving policy change, with a view to understanding how change comes about, and the dynamics in health policy in the changing post-COVID environment.

Module's six types of learning
Module 2: Health policy in practice: driving meaningful change

This module will build on the introductory module and look at changes in specific areas of health policy over time, looking at practical applications for practice, their impact, and key challenges in implementation. Topics will include non communicable diseases (NCDs), digital health and addressing health inequalities – looking at how policies have evolved, and what drives successful implementation to make a tangible change for population health. 

Module's six types of learning
Module 3: Change management

Exploring policy change as one aspect of change management, this module examines the theory and practice of leading and managing organisational change. You will look at different ways to design a change management strategy, including the meaningful measurement of outcomes and impact.

 Programme Faculty

Suzanne Wait - visiting lecturer at UCL GBSH - Co-Founder The Health Policy Partnership

Suzanne co-founded The Health Policy Partnership in 2015. In a health policy career spanning more than 15 years, Suzanne has helped to run multi-stakeholder initiatives in numerous disease areas. Suzanne has a Master of Public Health from Columbia University and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Strasbourg.

Professor Nora Ann Colton - Director of the UCL Global Business School for Health

Professor Nora Colton is the Director of the UCL Global Business School of Health.  She is a health and development economist with extensive experience in change management and strategy.  Previous to this role she was the  UCL Pro-Vice-Provost (Postgraduate Education) and Joint Director of Education at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital.  She has been a Professor of International Economics at Drew University, USA; Dean of Business and Deputy Vice Chancellor at University of East London (UEL), UK; and a visiting professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Electronic Science and Technology (UESTC), Chengdu, China as well as the American University in Beirut (AUB), Lebanon.

 She holds a doctorate from University of Oxford, UK.  She also has studied and taught at a number of leading universities including Harvard University; W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University; American University in Cairo; American University in Beirut and  Barcelona Business School at University Pompeu Fabra, Spain. She also holds a certificate in Change Management from Cornell University in the USA.

She has been the recipient of a serial Fulbright and a Carnegie Foundation grant to conduct fieldwork in the Middle East. 

She is the author of numerous journal articles concerned with Middle Eastern economics and politics.  She is also co-author of a book with Elsevier Press entitled Middle East Finance: Missed-opportunities or Future Prospects and has a book forthcoming with Palgrave-Macmillan on the political economy of Yemen.  She has also been a series editor of a book series on Middle East Economics through Palgrave-Macmillan. More recently, she conducts research and publishes on healthcare management and strategic leadership.

She has a particular interest in change management as it relates to the healthcare sector and has designed programmes and taught on healthcare management postgraduate degree programmes as well as health related executive education and training programmes.

On completion of the Health Policy and Practice executive education course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the principles that guide health policies, their development and implementation.
  • Appreciate how different health systems approach the organisation of healthcare.
  • Identify the consequences of health policies for the health system and practitioners within it.
  • Appreciate the various stakeholders involved in shaping health policies 
  • Understand core frameworks for evaluating policy interventions and be able to apply them to other areas of policy
  • Recognise change management approaches for effectively implementing changes in health policy within your organisation.
  • Horizon scan and anticipate changes in healthcare policy and practice, so you can design and plan their efficient implementation.

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