NICU nurse cares for premature infant in Haiti

Building Strong Health Systems

Partners In Health acts on the belief that the best way to guarantee high-quality, dignified care is to rely upon and invest in local health systems.


What does building a health system look like? It requires--among many things--well-trained staff; proper and ample medications and supplies; health facilities with reliable space, electricity, and running water; and universally shared best practices that ensure patients receive quality care. We work with government partners to reach these goals by accompanying them every step of the way, in solidarity through times of struggle and celebration.

The Role of Communities

Even the best clinics and hospitals are insufficient in guaranteeing care if people cannot access them. That’s why community health workers are key to building strong health systems. They are the bridge between communities and clinics, finding the most vulnerable among their neighbors and accompanying them through care.

Often, that care extends beyond the medical and addresses the whole patient. A mother cannot undergo cancer care and lose work without receiving economic support. A tuberculosis patient cannot endure strong medications on an empty stomach. And a patient showing symptoms of COVID-19 cannot take public transportation to her local testing site.

From providing food to cash transfers to transportation to housing, PIH stays true to our mission to do whatever it takes to ensure health is a human right for all.

woman sits with her children and shares a laugh with doctor on step of house

PIH’s “Five S’s”

We look at health system strengthening as a mix of five fundamental ingredients: staff, stuff, space, systems, and social support. Removing any one item would result in a weaker health system overall.

5 chart branding images
5 chart branding images

Our Theory of Change

PIH’s approach is one of accompaniment. We work side-by-side with our friends and colleagues at all levels, whether they are community-based, local health authorities, or global health advocates, to deliver the highest quality care. We take our best practices and conduct research to demonstrate our impact and to educate current and future leaders at the local, national, and global levels. We are an organization that is diverse, nimble, and rises to the challenges we encounter with optimism, compassion, and tenacity.


We deliver high-quality health care where it does not exist—ensuring every person’s right and ability to survive and thrive. We treat the whole person by providing routine, equity-based care, as well as specialized, advanced care. We deliver whatever it takes to fight and prevent disease.


We invest in ongoing clinical education and training for our staff at every level in order to improve patient care and strengthen health systems for the long term. Through our clinical residency and fellowship programs, we continue to train future generations of leaders in global health and equity.


We advocate for national and global health policies that prioritize, rather than marginalize, the most vulnerable among us. We fight widespread bias and dogma with rigorous evidence-based results.


We support national governments and other partners by sharing our approach, research, and best practices to ensure equitable access to dignified quality health care. Through PIH’s University of Global Health Equity and our teaching hospitals, we prepare the next generation of social medicine practitioners and global health leaders.

How We Do It

Social Support

We provide social support to patients through food, housing, educational and financial assistance, and more, because we believe that maintaining good health requires more than medical care.



PIH is committed to building strong health care workforces through mentorship, education, and clinical training across all levels of care.



PIH is committed to providing education, supporting, mentoring, and partnering with nurses and midwives, who are a vital pillar of the health care workforce around the world.



We improve surgical care through training, resources, and research around the world, addressing a critically unmet need within public health systems.



We believe lasting change is achieved through strong partnerships, which we have forged with medical and academic institutions, national governments, and our generous supporters.


Gender Equity

We serve patients of all gender identities and sexual orientations, prioritizing their medical and social needs to create a more equitable world.


Community Health Workers

We draw on the expertise of the people who know their community best as we provide health care that is culturally relevant.



We advocate for the global right to health movement, calling on legislators and leaders worldwide to support health care as a human right.


Join the Movement: Health Care is a Human Right

Partners In Health brings health care to some of the world's poorest communities. We believe that every single person—infants and adults, moms and grandmas, families and individuals—has a right to receive high-quality care.

We're seeking global health advocates like you to join our movement as we work to deliver health care across the globe—and defend health care for all.

Are you in? Add your name.