EHMA 2019 Programme Directors’ Group Winter Retreat

13 September 2020

The EHMA 2019 Programme Directors’ Group Winter Retreat took place on 4th – 5th February in Kloster Eberbach, Germany, under the chairmanship of Dr. Stephen Brookes from the University of Manchester.

In 2019, the PD Group’s development reached a new milestone. All members were asked to provide a short outline of the main healthcare challenges that they would have liked to discuss with the aim of agreeing strategic activities for the following twelve months through an agreed action plan. The second major change was the introduction of a Winter School, the aim of which was to encourage young healthcare leaders/managers and professionals to develop their leadership/managerial skills through competencies training focusing on the topic of “Managing digital innovation in healthcare”.

Check out the full article by the EHMA Programme Directors’ Group Chair, Dr. Stephen Brookes, “Responding to Healthcare Management 2.0 and Leadership 3.0


Responding to Healthcare Management 2.0 and Leadership 3.0

I have had the honour of chairing my first meeting of the European Healthcare Management Association (EHMA) Programme Directors Group at the 2019 Winter Retreat at Kloster Eberbach, Germany, on the 4th and 5th February 2019 having been elected by my colleagues at the EHMA annual conference in Budapest in June 2018.

Excellence in post-graduate health management programmes was a key driver behind the establishment of EHMA in 1982 and it remains a focal point today. The Programme Directors Group brings together Course Directors, Departmental Heads and other senior managers to help ensure that taught programmes continue to provide the highest quality education for current and future health managers. I have been a member of the group, along with my colleague Jillian McCarthy, for a number of years. We have been able to share our experiences respectively of the Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) MSc International Healthcare Leadership and the NHS Leadership Academy MSc Healthcare Leadership (Elizabeth Garrett Anderson) programme and to learn from our European colleagues. I would wish to pay tribute to both Elly Breedveld and Siegfried Walch who stood down as co-chairs in 2018 and for the excellent steer that they have given to the group supported very professionally and enthusiastically by the EHMA secretariat.

This year, we have reached a new milestone in the groups’ development, building on the work of Elly and Siegried, during our 2019 meeting.   First, we asked all members to provide a short outline of the main healthcare challenges that they would like to discuss at the meeting with the aim of agreeing strategic activities for the following twelve months through an agreed action plan. The second major change is the introduction of a Winter School, the aim of which is to encourage young healthcare leaders/managers and professionals to develop their leadership/managerial skills through competencies training focusing on major international challenges that face healthcare leaders and managers.

Programme Director Challenges

The aim was to select a small number of challenges to be discussed in more detail during the meeting. There was a remarkable coherence between the challenges that were identified, and it was not difficult to identify the four main challenges presented to programme directors:

1.     How the increasing internationalisation of healthcare leadership can be incorporated within healthcare leadership development balancing this with the needs of national programmes and healthcare systems;

2.    Acknowledging that blended learning, in its purest form, is fast becoming the ‘new traditional model’ of leadership and management development and one that PDs would wish to embrace;

3.    How to build both hard and soft skills for healthcare leaders and ensure that equal attention is paid to the application of the leadership development in practice alongside the achievement of the learning outcomes that define our healthcare leadership programmes; and

4.    To explore how Programme Directors can collaborate across Europe in responding to these challenges.

Our members formed two discussion groups and focused on challenges #1 and #2 whilst considering challenges #3 and #4 as part of the potential responses. This was supported by two presentations that focused on existing blended learning programmes that have the potential to assist in developing a collaborative approach to practically based leadership development and a potential structure for a pilot collaborative programme that will support our response to the challenges. The focused discussion on challenges resulted in insightful suggestions for future action which was then incorporated within a twelve-month action plan. This includes a commitment to provide support for healthcare programme directors to make the transition to blended learning approaches and to develop a pilot three-day programme that the EHMA PD group will coordinate with collaborating partners.  A further action is to include a Leadership and Management Coaching Session at the 2019 EHMA Conference in Finland.


The original article appeared on LinkedIn on 6th February 2019 by Stephen Brookes. The full original article is accessible here:


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I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

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EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

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Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

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