Taiwan Comparative Health Systems Program


2023/2024 Team Leader: Elsie Wang and Jonathan Han
Location: Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Date & Duration of Project: 2 weeks in May and/or June 2024
Positions: 5-10

The Taiwan Comparative Health Systems Program (CHSP) is an intense two-week exchange that allows participants a comprehensive overview of Taiwanese healthcare. It was founded in 2009 at McGill University, 2013 at UCLA and UBC joined in 2015. In 1995, Taiwan’s National Health Insurance was established, increasing coverage from 40% to 99% of the population. This was done by thorough research of healthcare systems around the world, and combining successful features from each into what their country needed. The purpose of this exchange program is to compare and contrast various aspects of a foreign health system that boasts an 80% public approval rating with our own, with the hopes that from this exchange of ideas, participants will one day be involved in the betterment of Canadian healthcare through policy change or research. This program also aims to serve as a link between future scholars, health professionals, and policy makers to their counterparts in Asia for potential collaborative opportunities. We encourage our participants to explore ideas and topics they are interested in prior departure and will best tailor the content of the exchange accordingly.

Sponsored by Shu Zen Junior College of Medicine in Southern Taiwan and in collaboration with Kao Hsiung Department of Health, medical schools and hospitals, the program includes activities and lectures from field experts on a variety of topics. There will be opportunities for:

  • Comparison of Taiwanese and Canadian health care systems
  • Tours of medical centers, regional hospitals, clinics, public health centers, and rural health to get an overview of healthcare delivery
  • Application of innovative technology for health care administration (Insurance Smart Card)
  • Lectures on public versus private healthcare, wait times in Taiwan, pandemic disease control (COVID-19), Chinese medicine and more
  • Q&A sessions and discussion panels with public health officers, chiefs of medicine, superintendents of private hospital corporations, professors and physicians
  • Discussion with Taiwanese medical students and allied health students on health care systems and the medical education program

The 2023 GHI Taiwan exchange program was an eye-opening experience and a tremendous success. The open exchanges with government health officials about the different types of healthcare systems in each of our respective countries really provided us with a new perspective on the challenges and details required in designing a healthcare system. We were also able to gain further insight into how Taiwan responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it differed from our management strategies here in Canada. Other than several informative exchanges, we got the chance to try out the Da Vinci robotic surgery instrument, visit liver transplantation and palliative care wards, shadow family physicians in their practice, and see how international Christian doctors built the first health clinics in rural Taiwan. The program also offers an awesome cultural component. English-speaking students from Shu Zen Junior College of Medicine took the group to night markets, famous beaches, grand restaurants, and renowned temples. The 2024 GHI Taiwan exchange program is poised to become another thrilling educational experience.

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