15.S07 | Spring 2013 | Graduate

GlobalHealth Lab


Course Meeting Times

Sessions: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

There are occasionally lunch sessions and team meetings that supplement the scheduled class sessions. Students spend the last two weeks of March working full-time on site.

Course Overview

This course offers students the opportunity to learn, collaborate, and take action to address pressing challenges in providing health care to people who most need it. Now in its fifth year, this course builds on a rich MIT tradition of action learning, inspiring and valued MIT Sloan supporters, an experienced staff team, and unique collaborations with experts at the Global Health Delivery Project and elsewhere who collectively enable student teams to excel in their work on the front lines of health care delivery.

Class sessions set the stage for faculty-mentored teams to work side-by-side with enterprise leaders on real-world problems related to aspects of strategy, operations, and marketing in resource-constrained settings. We take a broad view of delivery to include in our consideration business models, strategy, and partnerships, as well as a range of factors that shape patients’ access to and use of care. Our partner host enterprises on the front lines of delivering health care set the focus for each project. Spring 2013 projects are in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Bangladesh, Nepal, and India.

Every year, we update this course to take into account all that we learn from our own experience and via rich interactions with partner host organizations. In the months before class starts, we work closely with the leaders and staff of dozens of front line healthcare organizations. The process reveals new insights into pressing constraints, emerging opportunities, and challenges old and new. We are deeply grateful to all our past, present, and potential partners for helping us learn about delivery challenges.

We developed our unique responsive problem-based approach to meet our partners’ evolving needs and because the nascent field of health delivery research demands innovative interactions of management research and education with implementers and practitioners as well as donors, academics, and experts in healthcare. Students are partners, not only in both classroom and field projects, but in the broader dialog about the field of global health delivery. Beyond the class itself, each project has the potential to benefit many, by generating practical, useful material to share.

Enrollment and Expectations

This course is open to graduate students only. Admission is by application and interview in the preceding November. Students interested in this course are provided with the Overview and FAQ (PDF) that addresses common questions and the application process.

Enrolled students must be available to work on site in Africa or India for two weeks starting from mid-March. Students are required to complete all segments of the course, including class sessions, team meetings that take place in lieu of class, and mentor meetings.

A more detailed description of student responsibilities, commitments, and work expectations are listed on the Course Expectations page.

The Team Project

Students work on specific projects both on site and on campus, drawing on their management skills and tools, a range of experts and alumni reachable from campus, a varied set of global health resources we have assembled over the years, and our lively classroom sessions. The goal: to generate useful, operational improvements for hosts. Having begun preparation in December and January, each team works intensively from early February in advance of the two-week on-site project team internship during the second half of March, then spends April back on campus wrapping up the project and exploring how efficiency, reach, and organizational sustainability may be advanced. In every project, we aim to alleviate constraints that most limit our partnering host organizations’ ability to deliver health care.

Assignments and deliverables are designed to enable progress. Once class starts in February, students quickly develop work plans and other preparation materials that we draw on in class. In March, they submit an interim research-based briefing designed for their hosts before they leave and turn in a complete set of the materials presented on site at the end of the two-week trip. At the end of April, students turn in a final set of deliverables for their hosts.


Individual work and contributions 20%
Project foundation management toolkit 30%
Host portfolio 30%
Sloan portfolio 20%; Sloan Intensive Period (SIP) credit

A more detailed description of the assignment components and schedule of deliverables are provided on the Assignments page.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2013
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples
Instructor Insights