Executive Education

Health, Inequality, Ethnicity

The Hertie School in Berlin, in collaboration with the OSF Public Health Program, is offering a 5-day course, "Health, Inequality, Ethnicity", scheduled from 25-29 May 2020. The programme will focus on racial prejudices and ethnic discrimination in healthcare, which impact quality of health as well as accessibility and utilisation issues, thus leading to health inequalities. The course is intended to serve as a platform for the medical community, public policymakers as well as social justice and human rights advocates in Europe to engage in dialogue on health outcomes of socially excluded communities and those who are ethnically discriminated against.

In particular, the course will equip participants with the necessary theoretical foundations on racial and ethnic inequality in health through relevant theories, empirical literature and case studies, as well as with tools to analyse inequality, quantify it, visualise it and present findings succinctly to stakeholders and policymakers. Contemporary issues related to climate change, social and material deprivation and environmental architecture will also be discussed in relation to racial and ethnic inequalities.

Please apply via our online application portal. If you do not have an account yet, you can register on the same page. The closing date for applications is 2 March 2020 (23:59).

After registration, please select "Health, Inequality, Ethnicity" under study programme and upload the following:

  • Your CV in PDF format
  • A letter of motivation (max. one page with 3000 characters)
  • A link to a 90 sec. video in which you present yourself, explain in what way your work contributes to equality in access to health and how your participation in this seminar will increase the impact of your work.


Our world is living longer and more healthily – life expectancy at birth has increased from 50 years in 1950 to 73 in 2017. While policies within and outside the health domain often focus on improving the level of health, the distribution of health is often ignored in policymaking. In other words, significant inequalities exist – life expectancy at birth, for example, varies substantially between European countries. Not only is health distributed unequally between regions and countries, stark inequalities persist even within countries and the socioeconomic gradient in health amplifies these problems. Characteristics such as race and ethnicity still lead to disparities in health and are unjustifiable. While health as an outcome in itself is a goal, the financing of healthcare poses unique challenges. Certain ethnicities and racial groups are subjected to catastrophic expenditures on health that force them into poverty. Understanding inequality in the finance of healthcare is thus important for policymaking.

Such social disparities arising due to racial or ethnic diversity will merit attention in future policy discourse, which will demand expertise in recognising, understanding and quantifying inequality in the finance and distribution of healthcare and health, as well as in identifying its determinants and applying the correct policy levers to address these disparities. In addition, questions related to resource allocation – principles of resource allocation and their normative implications – form an important part of political discussions in relation to decision-making and actionable policy.

Fighting for health equity

For a better understanding of the idea behind this workshop, watch this video documenting a very succesful initiative of the Open Society Foundations within the field of health equity.


The course will be structured over a week as follows:




The course is intended for professionals whose work and interests are directly related to discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity or race and health in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

These include:

  • Leaders of civil society organisations who are running advocacy and health equity programmes and are involved in the design, implementation or monitoring of policies and practices that most impact health-related discrimination
  • Government officials (ministries of health, justice or development, centralised planning units, NHRIs) with the power to support or regulate equitable access to health institutions
  • International organisation representatives working on public health at an international or country level
  • Healthcare professionals working with marginalised communities in particular
  • Academics and researchers interested in inequality, ethnicity and health

Participants should be comfortable with participating in English in the seminar (both understanding presentations and speaking during participatory exercises).



Please apply via our online application module https://application.hertie-school.org/
The closing date for applications is 2 March 2020 (23:59).
When registering, please select “Inequality, ethnicity and health” under study programme and upload the following:

  • Your CV in PDF format
  • A letter of motivation (in PDF format, max. one page 3000 characters) 
  • A link to a 90 sec. video in which you present yourself, explain in what way your work contributes to equality in access to health and how your participation in this seminar will increase the impact of your work.

Admission is subject to availability. A limited number of scholarships are available. For more details please consult the "Course fee" section below.


Course Fee

€ 2,500 (excluding travel arrangements and accommodation)*

*Full and partial scholarships are available for applicants from the non-profit and civic sectors advocating for equality of access to health


Course Lead and Facilitators

  • Prof. Dr. Mujaheed Shaikh is Course Lead and Professor of Health Governance at the Hertie School.

  • Owen O'Donnell is an Associate Professor in the Erasmus School of Economics and the University of Macedonia (Greece).

  • Prof. Dr. Marisa Miraldo is Associate Professor in Health Economics at the Imperial College Business School.

  • Margareta Matache, PhD is a justice activist and scholar from Romania, director of the Roma Program at Harvard FXB, and also a Harvard instructor.