Background: Interprofessional education is increasingly recognized as essential for health education worldwide. Although effective management, innovation, and entrepreneurship are necessary to improve health systems, business schools have been underrepresented in global health education. Central America needs more health professionals trained in health management and innovation to respond to health disparities, especially in rural communities. Objective: This paper explores the impact of the Health Innovation Fellowship (HIF), a new training program for practicing health professionals offered jointly by the Central American Healthcare Initiative and INCAE Business School, Costa Rica. Launched in 2014, HIF’s goal is to create a network of highly trained interdisciplinary health professionals in competencies to improve health of Central American communities through better health management. Methods: The program’s fellows carried out innovative healthcare projects in their local regions. The first three annual cohorts (total of 43 fellows) represented all health-related professions and sectors (private, public, and civil society) from six Central American countries. All fellows attended four 1-week, on-site modular training sessions, received ongoing mentorship, and stayed connected through formal and informal networks and webinars through which they exchange knowledge and support each other. CAHI stakeholders supported HIF financially. Results: Impact evaluation of the three-year pilot training program is positive: fellows improved their health management skills and more than 50% of the projects found either financial or political support for their implementation. Conclusions: HIF’s strengths include that both program leaders and trainees come from the Global South, and that HIF offers a platform to collaborate with partners in the Global North. By focusing on promoting innovation and management at a top business school in the region, HIF constitutes a novel capacity-building effort within global health education. HIF is a capacity-building effort that can be scaled up in the region and other low- and middle-income countries.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge Chris Barry, Luis Figueroa, and Andy Valenciano for their comments and contributions to this study, as well as Robert and Elizabeth Jeffe for their financial support of the project.
© 2018, © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Central America
- health management
- health professionals
- training program