International Masters for Health Leadership


Program Description

Transforming the Way Health Care is Managed

The International Masters for Health Leadership (IMHL) began in 2006 as part of the quest to become a world leader in healthcare management education. The IMHL is a collaborative effort of McGill's Faculties of Medicine and Management that builds upon the two Faculties' worldwide reputation and acts as an agent of change in health care.

Why the IMHL

The program's unique approach enables people in the health professions to maintain their position in their organization during the entire program, returning to work between modules. Our unique pedagogy rests on the application to practice, in real time, of concepts, theories, and frameworks delivered in the classroom. In addition, all of our content and programming are focused on management and leadership of healthcare organizations. The IMHL believes that the greatest hope for the improvement of health lies in a deep understanding of how the entire health field works, coupled with a sophisticated appreciation of its management.

Benefits for Participants

The IMHL pedagogy allows that the learning be applied in real time, between classroom modules, so that managerial practices can be developed and improved during the course of the program. The IMHL is designed to act as a catalyst for change in participants' organizations and communities.
The program encourages participants to share their experiences, delving into each other's issues to provide innovative solutions to the challenges they face in their respective work environments. Our participants report increased confidence in undertaking challenges they previously found daunting. Our innovative educational activities give our experienced participants the opportunity to be the initiators of change within their organization and their community. The written work during the course of the program can be presented at conferences.

Benefits for the Health Sector

A key principle of the program is "use work, don't make work". Participants bring their actual work challenges to the program, rather than using more traditional organizational case studies. Throughout the program, we encourage the application to the practice of the concepts, theories, and frameworks used in the classroom. In many organizations, our participants form teams so that the learning can be shared in the context of embracing challenges. The IMHL is an ongoing forum that addresses and advances issues of healthcare worldwide.

Program Pedagogy: The Five Modules

The International Masters for Health Leadership (IMHL) is a 15-month program of five 12-day modules, followed by a master's degree paper, leading to the degree of Master of Management at McGill University. Each module focuses on a particular leadership mindset. Between modules, participants return to the workplace where they apply the pedagogy and insights of the program. Following the five modules, there is a period in which the final paper is written under the guidance of an advisor. This last phase can be done from anywhere in the world.

  • Module 1: 30 May - 10 June 2021
  • Module 2: 20-30 September 2021
  • Module 3: 17-27 January 2022
  • Module 4: 8-20 May 2022
  • Module 5: 12-22 September 2022

Module 1 - The Reflective Mindset: Broadening Perspectives

The Reflective Mindset is designed to help participants gain a better understanding of their personal management style - how they present themselves to others, their strengths and weaknesses, and their current leadership skills. Participants learn how to be thoughtful and reflective, to step back from always doing, to see familiar experiences from a new perspective. module1Module 2 - The Analytic Mindset: Leading Organizations

The Analytic Mindset provides an overview of today's principal health care organizations including health promoting hospitals, community agencies, health maintenance organizations, etc. Participants gain insight into the operation of these organizations by analyzing their intrinsic similarities and differences. Participants are also introduced to the analytical tools used to manage specific organizations and to formal approaches that improve managerial effectiveness. Key concepts in accounting, people management, and organizational strategy stimulate participants to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of their own organization. Strategy, structure, sourcing, and delivery are explored in a systematic way that allows participants to view the managing process as a melding of art, craft and science. module2Module 3 -The Worldly Mindset: Navigating the System

The delivery of healthcare is rooted within highly complex systems that vary enormously across the world - from fully socialized to market-driven. Yet every system struggles with where it should sit on this continuum. Because most practitioners - whether managers or clinicians - typically spend their careers within a single system, they rarely have the opportunity to appreciate the alternatives. The third module focuses on these contextual "systems", exploring the various social institutions within the healthcare field and their interactions with economic, political and social forces. The goal is to increase understanding of the dynamics of "system change". Participants are encouraged to seek creative solutions based on an integrated, rather than a fragmented understanding of health care. Participants also explore in greater depth the interactions between economics and health and the possibilities for leveraging change within complex systems. module3Module 4 - The Collaborative Mindset: Appreciating Work Relationships

In this module, participants focus on managing relationships with patients, professionals, health advocates, administrators, the government, the media and many other groups. Skill development includes relationship-building, negotiating, stakeholder coordination, and knowledge management. The managing of professional relationships is emphasized, with participants developing the advanced skills necessary to build and lead complex networks rather than simple organizations. The integration of knowledge from multiple disciplines and perspectives is also examined. module4Module 5 - The Catalytic Mindset: Achieving Change

The final module is action-focused, integrative in nature, focusing on the achievement of change. The impact projects on which participants have worked throughout the program are given considerable attention. Successful health management cases are reviewed and the action implications of adaptive management are explored. Other key areas of study include integrated and sustainable approach to health; the notion of prevention and its applied dissemination; effective intervention within the policy environment; positive/negative outcomes of media exposure in health policy; and the notions of evaluation and accountability. Participants integrate and synthesize the knowledge they have acquired during the preceding modules. The program closes with an in-depth consideration of the process of transformation leadership and what it means to lead comprehensively, analytically, collaboratively, contextually, catalytically and reflectively. module5

Participants' Profile

part01 The IMHL is a demanding program with ambitious goals. Its success depends largely on the quality and motivation of the participants. It is suited to individuals, as well as to teams of four to five managers and/or clinicians who represent an organization, community, or country with a compelling health issue to address. Participants continue to work while taking the program. Participants hold positions of responsibility in health care, most have a clinical background (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, psychologists) and some have other backgrounds (economists, lawyers, etc.). They work in all manner of health organizations (hospitals, community care, public health, government ministries, international agencies, foundations, others) and in all areas of health — from health promotion to prevention to treatment. They come from all over the world.

For more information please contact the IMHL at

Last updated Mar 2020

Keystone scholarship

Discover the options our scholarship can give you

About the School

The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University is ranked as one of the world’s top international business schools. The Faculty’s innovative programs and historic reputation for excellence co ... Read More

The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University is ranked as one of the world’s top international business schools. The Faculty’s innovative programs and historic reputation for excellence continue to attract the finest students and the most prominent professors from around the globe to its downtown campus located in the vibrant metropolis of Montreal. Read less


EFMD Equis Accredited