DeGroote School of Business & Faculty of Health Sciences

National Health Fellows Program

"Connecting Health Systems Leaders For Transformational Impact, One Cohort At A Time"

This is a picture of three National Health Fellows in conversation

The National Health Fellowship is the start of a challenging and transformational learning journey.

Transformation. Impact. Community. Canada’s health leaders are looking for ways to revitalize, re-imagine and retool for a changing world. Building new skills honing existing capabilities is critical in the ever changing business landscape.

The National Health Fellows Program connects talented healthcare leaders with skilled, “new power” leaders, educators, complex change facilitators, and mentors to strengthen the networks, behaviors, and evidence-based tools needed to advance health and well-being across the broader healthcare system.

Become part of a growing movement charged with re-imagining our national health ecosystem capable of delivering more for you, your organization, your patients, employees, communities, for your world.

Over the course of 6 months, you will develop a deep understanding of how to create a leadership culture that embraces a systems thinking mindset, gain the practical skills and tools to progress your own leadership capabilities, and put these into practice tackling real-life opportunities and challenges within your organization and across the broader health system.

By the end of the program you will:

  • Understand and utilize different frameworks to address complex problems in your organization
  • Improve your ability to self-manage and build meaningful engagement with others
  • Enhance your skills to understand and tackle complex problems overcoming barriers to execution
  • Improve your ability to partner across multiple internal and external boundaries
  • Be an integral part of a national network of like-minded leaders seeking to affect change in our healthcare system
  • Contribute to the future of health leadership in Canada through co-creation and design of future iterations of the program and Health Leadership Academy activities.
I think one of the unique aspects of the health fellows program and one of the unique value propositions or opportunities in front of us is because this is a coast to coast to coast group of people working across the health system in different capacities.
Dr. Katharine Smart — Past President, Canadian Medical Association

The Experience

The National Health Fellows program aims to support leaders, organizations, and communities in the emergence of a new future that goes beyond sick care towards health and wellbeing for all. Our Charter Serves as a foundational tide for learning from Indigenous ways of knowing and doing to correct the disconnect that keeps us from lifting all boats.

Experience a truly transformative experience – with a nominated cohort of national health leaders working together to solve complex health challenges.

  • Support organizational renewal and greater agility to confront ongoing change
  • Engage and empower all stakeholders to deliver high-quality coordinated care outcomes
  • Reduce health inequalities and address the social determinants of health
  • Ensure high quality health services that are efficient and accessible, while working under constraints.

The Format

3 x 4-day modules delivered over 6 months in a highly interactive format.

Learning is collaborative and creative, and includes co-consulting sessions, mentoring, individual challenges and group projects. Each module builds on what you’ve learned and prepares you for your role as a National Fellow.

The 3-module, 6-month journey will culminate with a national Health Forum Dialogue where you and your colleagues will share your learnings with health policy leaders from across the country.

**Module content subject to change


You will be challenged to raise your leadership thinking in order to assess current and envisioned future states of your organization and the broader health system.

*curriculum is subject to change

Module 1 Sessions*:

  • Why Do We Always Do it This Way: A conversation with Health System Innovators
  • My Organization’s Biggest Challenges: A Health Forum Dialogue
  • The Art of Seeing
  • Systems Leadership: Moving From Knowing to Doing
  • How Do We Build Organizational Resilience Now: Scenario Planning and Strategic Foresight
  • My Leadership Action Plan for Change

Expand your views on the art of the possible and the forces that are disrupting health care: from AI, VR/AR, to emerging public/private partnerships and innovative new models of healthcare.

Module 2 Sessions*:

  • The Art of the Possible & the Future Forces Disrupting Health Care
  • Cases Studies in Transformational Systems Leadership
  • Innovative New Models of HealthCare
  • Emerging Public/Private Partnerships
  • Leveraging New Models, Mindsets and Partnerships for Good: A Health Equity Discussion
  • Navigating through a Future Ready, Physical and Virtual, Health Care Environment
  • Designing for the Future State of Health Care

Engage in highly interactive sessions focused on influence, networking and political acumen as you prepare for a policy dialogue with fellow health leaders from across Canada.

Module 3 Sessions*:

  • Developing Your System Leadership Capabilities: From Coaching-Self to Mentoring Others
  • Activating Your Community of Influencers
  • A Policy Dialogue with Health Leaders in partnership with The McMaster Health Forum

Work with personal coaches on your leadership development plans and participate in an ongoing series of knowledge exchange events with participants from across Canada and around the globe.

Once delegates have graduated from the program they will begin a lifelong relationship with McMaster’s Health Leadership Academy. Fellows will be asked to mentor, coach, facilitate and speak to future cohorts.

Fellows will play an active role in co-creating future offerings of NHFP and alumni and public events of the HLA.

It’s been one of the most humbling and impactful leadership experiences of my career.
Dr. Gena Bugden — Vice-President Medical Services, Eastern Health, Newfoundland

The Differences

What makes the National Health Fellows Program design and delivery approach unique is its emphasis on:

  • A pan-Canadian health perspective
  • A focus on systems thinking leadership and change
  • A focus on exposing health leaders to best practice approaches from both within and outside the Canadian health system
  • Its engagement with Canadian policy leaders to inform substantive systems change
  • Its commitment to supporting leadership communities that are open, participatory and peer-driven.
For those that are considering joining this future cohort of the Health Fellowship, I have to tell you it’s worth the time, it’s worth the effort, it’s worth it to step back from your day-to-day. Imagine the impossible, to think outside the box, and to learn and grow with other like-minded individuals.
Dr. Kathleen Ross — CMA President

Illustrative Faculty

Program Directors/Developers:

  • Dr. David Price, Co-Director HLA, McMaster University
  • Prof. Michael Hartmann, Co-Director HLA, McMaster University
  • Jodeme Goldhar, National Health Fellows Tri-Director

Tentative Module 1 Faculty*:

*subject to change

  • Dr. Helen Bevan, Strategic Advisor, NHS Horizons
  • Adam Kahane, Director, Reos Partners
  • Nicole Knibb, Senior Education Officer, McMaster Museum of Art
  • Dr. John Lavis, Director, The McMaster Health Forum
  • Jennifer Lo, Senior Director Design, IDEO
  • Dr. Joyce Zazulak, Emeritus Professor, McMaster University

Tentative Module 2 Faculty*:

  • Dr. Mike Evans, Special Projects Apple Health
  • David Grandy, VP, Garfield Innovation Group, Kaiser Permanente
  • Dr. Nirav Shaw, Sr. Scholar, Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Ctr., Stanford University
  • Rob Siegel, Lecturer, Stanford School of Business

Tentative Module 3 Faculty*:

  • Dr. Bernice Downey, Associate Dean, Indigenous Health, McMaster University
  • Dr. Greg McQueen, NHFP Coach
  • Prof. Rick Hackett, Cdn. Research Chair, McMaster University
  • Karel Vredenburg, Global VP, Clients Insights and Research, IBM

National Health Fellows Program

Ideal Candidate

  • Senior-level health leader (i.e. C-level leader and their direct reports) from across the country
  • With a demonstrated commitment to health equity and leading change
  • Ready to connect with other accomplished leaders from diverse backgrounds, experiences and organizations
  • Open to our non-traditional approach to leadership development, and have a desire to make a difference
  • Nominated and supported by a member of your senior leadership team (i.e. CEO, Board Chair, Chief of
    Staff). Please note that self nominations are welcome

Recognizing that our health leaders tend not to reflect the diversity of the populations they serve, we also invite applications from across the broader health system who represent and/or serve traditionally underrepresented or marginalized populations.

Apply Now


2025 Program Dates

Application Period:

May 15, 2024 – March 15, 2025

Program Virtual Orientation: TBA

Module 1 – April 6-10, 2025: Burlington ON

Module 2 – May 31 – June 4, 2025: Palo Alto CA

Module 3 – October 5-9, 2025 Burlington ON


Fees and Bursaries for 2025

CAD Not-for-Profit Fee: $29,500 + HST (Early Bird, prior to December 31, 2024).
Regular - $31,000 + HST (after January 1, 2025.

Corporate Fee: Early Bird (before December 31, 2024)- $39,500 + HST.
Regular (after January 1, 2025) - $41,000 + HST.

Program cost excludes airfare. Includes 3 x 4-day residency meals and accommodation.
A $2,500, CAD non-refundable tuition deposit is required upon acceptance into the program.

Financial Support

  • The program has made available limited bursaries for qualified individuals enrolling in the 2025 cohort.
  • Bursaries will be distributed through a competitive application process and granted by the HLA Governance Committee.
  • To be considered for a bursary, you must be a Canadian citizen or resident, occupying a leadership role within a publicly funded healthcare or social services sector organization.


Request Brochure

Find out more about the program by downloading the program brochure


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