In 1998, when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, the father of my wonderful host family suddenly died from a preventable and treatable diabetic coma. He left behind a devastated wife and six kids. I grieved with the family, frustrated in knowing that their loss was avoidable and seeing so plainly why health systems matter. It was clear that, beyond any diabetes-specific initiative, Cameroonians deserved a well-functioning health system — one that could arrange the money, the people, the medicine, and the services that could prevent that avoidable loss and so many others like it.
Nathan Blanchet is a health systems specialist and international development leader with over 20 years of experience advancing public health and education in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia through academic research, teaching and nonprofit program leadership.
Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator
A global initiative to improve how health systems strengthening is done locally and globally.
As a senior program director at Results for Development, Dr. Blanchet serves as project director for the Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator, a global initiative to improve how health systems strengthening is done locally and globally. He also leads work on the design and implementation of national health insurance programs and other means of achieving universal health coverage in low- and middle-income countries. Focus areas include strengthening primary health care and integrating vertically-financed and private health services into sustainable public health financing systems. Previously Dr. Blanchet co-led the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage’s Primary Health Care Initiative, which produced widely used tools such as a way for countries to ensure health financing promotes primary health care and a guide that helps public sector stakeholders better engage the private sector in primary health care. As a member of R4D’s management team, Dr. Blanchet contributes to organizational strategy, partner outreach and staff development.
Dr. Blanchet has written and taught qualitative and quantitative studies on health financing, human resources for health, and the political economy of health reform in low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on Ghana. He has also advised and managed teams that have supported government health system reformers in several African and Asian countries.
Prior to his work and doctoral studies, Dr. Blanchet served as a U.S. Presidential Management Fellow at USAID, leading strategic planning and evaluation efforts for USAID’s health programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, including the response to the global avian influenza outbreak in 2005. He also consulted for the World Bank’s Onchocerciasis Control Unit, the Inter-American Development Bank and the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID), and served as a U.S. Peace Corps teacher and trainer in Cameroon. In 2010 he co-led an analysis of the political economy of health reform in Vermont that helped lead to successful passage of a major health reform bill by the state legislature.
Dr. Blanchet holds an appointment as a visiting scientist at Harvard University’s T.H Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), collaborating with HSPH faculty on research and delivering guest lectures on health financing, the political economy of health reform, and the professional practice of global health.
Dr. Blanchet holds an ScD in global health and population from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a BA in political science and French from Miami University. He speaks English, French and Spanish.