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Peter Berman

Peter Berman

Professor Emeritus M.Sc., PhD




Prof. Peter Berman (M.Sc, Ph.D) is a health economist with forty years of experience in research, policy analysis and development, and training and education in global health. Prof. Berman is a Professor of the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada, and Adjunct Professor in Global Health at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, as of January 1, 2019.

He relocated to Vancouver, Canada after a quarter century on the faculty of Harvard University, most recently as Professor of the Practice of Global Health Systems and Economics at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) in Boston, USA. He is also affiliated as Adjunct Professor at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in New Delhi, India and as advisor to the China National Health Development Research Center for health care financing and health accounts.

Prof. Berman was the founding faculty director of Harvard Chan’s new Doctor of Public Health degree and was actively engaged in graduate education reform in global public health at Harvard. In recent years, Prof. Berman has led several innovative research projects on developing primary care systems, strengthening service delivery, and improving health care financing mechanisms for better outcomes, with a focus on work in Ethiopia, India, and Malaysia. Prof. Berman is continuing his work in Ethiopia while at UBC.

With the World Bank from 2004-2011, Prof. Berman spent four years in the Bank’s New Delhi office as Lead Economist for Health, Nutrition, and Population. There he oversaw a portfolio of almost $2 billion in projects and research. In Washington, D.C from 2008, he was Lead Health Economist in the HNP anchor department and Practice Leader for the World Bank’s Health Systems Global Expert Team. He led analytical work on health systems analysis and strategic approaches to improving service delivery.

Prof. Berman was the founding Director of the International Health Systems Program in the Population and International Health Department at Harvard. He is the author or editor of five books on global health economics and policy and more than 50 academic papers in his field and numerous other working papers and reports. He has led and/or participated in major field programs in all regions of the developing world.

Prof. Berman’s specific areas of work include analysis of health systems performance and the design of reform strategies; assessment of the supply side of health care delivery and the role of private health care provision in health systems and development of strategies to improve outcomes through public-private sector collaboration. He pioneered the development and use of national health accounts as a policy and planning tool in developing countries. Prof. Berman has worked extensively on health system reform and health care development issues in a number of countries including Egypt, India, Colombia, Indonesia, and Poland. He has also worked for extended periods of residency and field work in Indonesia and India. He is co-author of Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity(Roberts, et al, Oxford University Press, 2008), co-editor of the Guide to the Production of National Health Accounts(World Bank, World Health Organization, and USAID, 2003), and co-editor of Berman and Khan, Paying for India’s Health Care(Sage, 1993).


Research Highlights

Strengthening health programs through better resource tracking and management. Research and policy development led by Prof. Berman focuses on how to improve health program performance through better health financing policies and practices in low and middle-income countries. The team developed and applied a “Resource Tracking and Management” (RTM) framework. The RTM framework provides an end-to-end health financing analysis by tracking resources, identifying bottlenecks, and applying policy solutions along 5 key steps of the flow of funds for health programs linked to key objectives. “Resources” include financing as well as physical inputs, such drugs and supplies and human resources.

Strategies for health system reform to improve outcomes.  Prof. Berman worked together with colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to develop a widely recognized framework for health systems that has been taught to more than 20,000 course participants from middle and lower income countries in collaboration with the World Bank. He has applied this framework in studying health systems performance and designing reform strategies in Egypt, Poland, and India. See, for example,  Berman, P. and R. Bitran (2011) “Health Systems Analysis for Better Health Systems Strengthening” HNP Discussion Paper, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Analysis of the supply side of health care systems. Dr. Berman has led path-breaking work to improve understanding of health care delivery in developing countries. This has included studies of community health workers, the scale and scope of non-government health care delivery, and the organization of health care provision systems in developing countries.