Adaptation strategies in transnational education: a case study of an Australian Master of Health Administration Course offered to Chinese managers

Liu, Chaojie, Wu, Qunhong, Liang, Zhanming, Karimi, Leila, Ferriers, J. Adamm, Sheats, Jane, and Khalil, Hanna (2022) Adaptation strategies in transnational education: a case study of an Australian Master of Health Administration Course offered to Chinese managers. BMC Medical Education, 22 (52).

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Background: Management decisions in health influence patient care outcomes; however, health management development courses in China are rare. This study aims to document and evaluate a transnational Master of Health Administration (MHA) course launched in 2000 for the benefit of Chinese health managers.

Methods: A case study of the MHA program jointly run by an Australian university and a Chinese Medical University was conducted. We reviewed the development of the MHA course through a document analysis (key events recorded in achieves, minutes, and audits) followed by reflection (by two course coordinators), extracting key themes related to adaptative strategies. We then conducted a questionnaire survey of 139 graduates seeking their views on relevance, satisfaction and challenges associated with each subject within the course, the relevance of key management skills (as determined by the Australasian College of Health Service Management competency framework), and the impact of the course on their personal career trajectories. Chi-square tests identified differences in the responses by age, gender, pre-training position, and current workplace.

Results: The curriculum pedagogy followed the principles of practice-based reflective learning. Research findings and student feedback shaped the curriculum design and subject content, to enhance management practices of the students. Survey participants expressed high levels of satisfaction and confirmed the relevance of all study subjects. Two subjects, health economics and data management, were perceived as being the most challenging. Of the ten management skills we assessed, relatively low self-rated confidence was found in “strategic thinking” and “planning”. Younger and less experienced graduates were more likely to report learning challenges (p < 0.05). Frontline managers were least likely to obtain promotion by changing employers (χ2 = 6.02, p < 0.05) or being seconded to another position (χ2 = 9.41, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: This case study illustrates the suitability of cross-country partnerships in health management training, which offers opportunities for managers to systematically explore and acquire a comprehensive set of management skills applicable to their career needs. Opportunities for developing training aligned to career development opportunities are critical for attracting and developing a competent and well-prepared health service management workforce in China.

Item ID: 72632
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-6920
Keywords: Health Management, Management Training, Training Evaluation, China
Copyright Information: © The Authors(s) 2022, Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2022 02:50
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420306 Health care administration @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420309 Health management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200203 Health education and promotion @ 100%
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