Why Health Services and Systems Strengthening Matters

Strong health systems are critical in ensuring that people everywhere have access to essential health care, no matter who they are or where they live. In many developing countries, health systems are inadequately funded and lack critical skills and capacity. However, problems with health systems are not confined to poor countries. Some rich countries have large populations without access to care because of health, economic and social inequalities. Other countries struggle with escalating costs because they use resources inefficiently. To maintain and improve health, we must work with governments to build the capacity of all the people and systems that provide prevention and treatment and ensure that health systems deliver their services equitably to all.

Current Research

Strengthening health policies and enhancing health service delivery is a Gillings School priority in North Carolina, the United States, and around the world. Gillings faculty work with faculty from other departments and schools such as business, medicine, public policy, dentistry and nursing to better understand how to strengthen healthcare systems.  UNC is home to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, which works through interdisciplinary research, consultation, technical assistance, and training to understand how design and delivery of health care services can be grown and adapted to improve health for individuals, families, and populations. The North Carolina Institute for Public Health, which is housed at Gillings, also provides management consulting services and works with public health and healthcare organizations to analyze work processes and identify opportunities for quality improvement.

Gillings also offers two summer practicum internship opportunities related to quality improvement in the area of global health: the IntraHealth-UNC Summer Fellows Program and the Global Quality Internship.

Additional Research in the Field of Health Services and Systems Strengthening

UNC launches innovative Center on Financial Risk in Environmental Systems

TB still major public health threat in China due to knowledge-practice gap, study finds

New UNC cancer initiative focuses on improving screening rates, reducing deaths

UNC researchers receive grant to examine enhanced services in NC community pharmacies

Savings less than expected for generic oral chemotherapy, study finds

PEPFAR ambassador recognizes PHLP’s Kumar for work on data system

Medicaid expansion affects rural, urban hospitals differently, study finds


Course Offerings

The following is a list of highlighted courses offered through the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health that directly focus on health services and systems strengthening and quality improvement.

  • PUBH 703 Quality Improvement in Health Care and Public Health
  • PUBH 716 Applied Quality Improvement Methods in Healthcare and Public Health
  • PUBH 730 Quality Improvement and Leadership
  • MHCH 816 Applied Quality Improvement Methods in Healthcare and Public Health
  • HPM 351 Policy Issues in Health Services Delivery
  • HPM 630 IHI Course in Healthcare Quality Improvement
  • HPM 760 Healthcare Quality and Information Management
  • HPM 762 Quality of Care
  • HPM 766 Making Equity a Priority in Cancer Care Quality
  • HPM 776 Health Information and Quality Tools
  • HPM 777 Health Information and Quality Applications
  • HPM 778 Public Health Information and Quality Applications
  • HPM 967 Quality Improvement

Highlighted Leaders in the Field