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Readying the leaders of tomorrow for health system transformation

Feb 08, 2021 |

One of Dr. David Hsu’s fondest memories from graduate school at UBC is discussing current health policy issues with fellow students and senior managers in British Columbia’s health care system at the home of his professor and mentor, Dr. Anne Crichton (1920-2007).

“Dr. Crichton helped her students become better analytic thinkers,” says Dr. Hsu, BSc’74, MD’77, MSc’83. “She gave them different perspectives on health policy and planning—different paradigms—better suited to real-world, and often messy, conditions.”

Dr. Hsu helped Dr. Crichton with her book, Canada’s Health Care System: Its Funding and Organization, a life-changing experience that led him to work in health services policy and planning with the B.C. Ministry of Health, before returning to a career in clinical medicine and palliative care.

To honour the memory of his special mentor, Dr. Hsu is reaching out to fellow alumni, family and friends of Dr. Crichton to establish the Crichton Health Systems and Policy Learning Fund. The UBC School of Population and Public Health will launch the annual prize and public lecture by an outstanding scholar on health system and policy reform.

The perspectives championed by Dr. Crichton remain relevant to today’s urgent challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis, the aging population and health equity. This prize and lecture will build on Dr. Crichton’s immense contributions to the wellbeing of Canadians by furthering the discussion about health system transformation among the health leaders of tomorrow.

Dr. Anne Crichton

Dr. Crichton, UBC professor emeritus of health care and epidemiology, was an early advocate for the importance of addressing the social determinants of health and reform of a crisis-oriented health care system to one that supports health promotion, disease prevention and community care.

With renowned health economist Lloyd Detwiller, Dr. Crichton co-developed the health services planning and administration program that evolved into UBC’s Master of Health Administration, a two-year professional program for clinicians, managers and researchers seeking solutions to today’s complex health delivery issues.

“One of the key take-aways from Dr. Crichton’s teachings is that rational health care planning from an ivory tower is seldom successful,” says Dr. Hsu. “A planner has to consider the real-world situation, different agendas, some of which may be hidden, and what trade-offs have to be made to address health system and policy challenges that remain key to health promotion and the prevention of illness.”

Dr. Hsu hopes the prize and public lecture presented by the UBC School of Population and Public Health will encourage excellence in health policy and planning, resulting in the improvements Dr. Crichton envisioned for the health system in B.C. and Canada.


Thank you for considering a gift to the Crichton Health Systems and Policy Learning Fund.