National Health Fellows Program

"Radical Collaboration for Advancing Human Health and Well-Being."

This is a photo of the David Braley Health Sciences Centre

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

Canada’s health leaders are looking for ways to revitalize, re-imagine and retool for a changing world. Business as usual is no longer an option. It is now particularly clear that building new or honing existing capabilities is critical. The National Health Fellows Program will connect our most 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.

From the moment you start the program, you will 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:

  • 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
  • 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.

The Experience

A truly transformative experience – a nominated cohort of 16 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.

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.

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.

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.

Illustrative Faculty

Program Directors/Developers:

  • Dr. David Price, Co-Director HLA, McMaster University
  • Prof. Michael Hartmann, Co-Director HLA, McMaster University
  • Jodeme Goldhar, Principal, 4C Impact Ltd.
  • Michelle Milan, Membership Relations, NHFP

Module 1 Faculty:

  • Brenna Atnikov, Sr. Consultant, Reos Partners
  • Dr. Joyce Zazulak, Emeritus Professor, McMaster University
  • Nicole Knibb, Senior Education Officer, McMaster Museum of Art
  • Prof. Teal McAteer, McMaster University
  • Dr. Greg McQueen, NHFP Coach
  • Dr. John Lavis, Director, The McMaster Health Forum
  • Karel Vredenburg, Global VP, Clients Insights and Research, IBM
  • Helen Bevan, Strategic Advisor, NHS Horizons

* Additional Faculty and Facilitators TBC

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

* Planned visits to Google Health, Garfield Innovation Centre

Module 3 Faculty:

  • Dr. Bernice Downey, Associate Dean, Indigenous Health, McMaster University
  • Dr. John Lavis, Director, The McMaster Health Forum
  • Prof. Rick Hackett, Cdn. Research Chair, McMaster University
  • Adam Kahane, Director, Reos Partners

* Additional Faculty and Facilitators TBC

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.



Registration for 2023 is now closed. 2024 dates will be made available soon.  Please contact us for more information.

Application Period:

November 1, 2022 – March 1, 2023

Program Virtual Orientation:

March 8, 2023

Module 1 – April 2-6, 2023 (Hamilton, ON, Canada)

Module 2 – June 4-8, 2023 (Palo Alto, CA, USA)

Module 3 – Sept. 24-28, 2023 (Hamilton, ON, Canada)

* Please note that the initial offering is delivered in English.

Fees and Bursaries for 2022

CAD 29,500 + HST excludes airfare, includes 3 x 4-day residency meals and accommodation. A CAD 2,500 non-refundable tuition deposit is required upon acceptance into the program.

Financial Support

  • The program has made available substantial bursaries for qualified individuals enrolling in the 2023 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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