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Human Development &
Capability Association

Multi-Disciplinary and People-Centred

Radboud Summer School: Expanding the Terrain of Valuing Health? A Capability Approach

Date: 6-10 August 2018
Fee: € 685 
Discounts: 10-25%
Preliminary course programme (docx, 146 kB)
Application Deadline: 1 June 2018

The Unsustainable Cost of Healthcare

Due to developments like an aging population, exponential growth of technology and a higher prevalence of chronic diseases, society faces the inevitable challenge of dealing with rising cost of healthcare. As a result of our finite resources, choices have to be made on the prioritization of health interventions to ensure a minimal level of wellbeing. This generates a demand for insight in how to assess and prioritize health interventions. Therefore, there is an increasing interest in developing evaluative frameworks that foster an informed decision making process.

Health, Quality of Life and the Capability approach

In healthcare, the wellbeing of patients is considered top-priority. Current health care policies not only aim to mitigate consequences of illness and disease but also intervene in the creation of optimal conditions for improving the quality of life of the patient. The limitations of measuring wellbeing and quality of life on the basis of utilitarian methods such as QALYs, ask for innovative frameworks that take into account our human diversity in respect to values and life choices. This course will introduce you to the capability approach {CA) developed by Nobel Prize laureate and economist Amartya Sen. Does this approach have the potential to shift our current utilitarian paradigm in health care towards a more individual and value-based approach? Should health care professionals aim at protecting a patient's capabilities in addition to optimal physical and mental state of wellbeing?

Course Content

In this one-week summer school we explore the origins of the capability approach as a theory of justice. Health philosopher Sridhar Venkatapuram, author of the well-received book 'Health Justice', and senior lecturer in Global Health and Philosophy at King's College London, will give his latest thoughts and insights on the potential of the application of capabilities in health care (tip: watch his latest Ted Talk to get inspired). During the week several methods to operationalize capabilities will be discussed to evaluate the impact of health care interventions.

One of the major challenges is the determination of how to evaluate treatments in terms of capabilities. Why should we? How should we do this? On the basis of the book 'Valuing freedoms' of Sabine Alkire we'll investigate the possibilities of operationalizing the capabilities approach in qualitative empirical work. We will train ourselves in applying the concepts of the capability model with the help of an inspiring movie and current vivid debates. During the course you will apply the capability approach to a case study and present your results in an essay on the final day.

Participant Testimonials

"Great international experience with friendly people!"- Radboud Summer School participant, 2017

"I loved the friendly atmosphere at Radboud University, and the helpfulness of everyone."
- Radboud Summer School participant, 2017

Learning Outcomes

After this course you are able to:

  1. Discuss the advantages and limitations of current evaluative frameworks in healthcare
  2. Reflect upon the notions of objectivity and subjectivity in the context of assessment
  3. Recognize the core concepts of the capability approach in health impact evaluation studies
  4. Understand how the capability approach can have additional value in health impact evaluation
  5. Apply and reflect on the capability approach in relation to your own case study.

Level of participant

  • Master
  • PhD
  • Post-doc
  • Professional

For whom is the course designed

MSc and PhD students or Post-docs in health technology assessment, medicine, philosophy, bioethics, health politics or economics. The course also welcomes professionals such as clinicians, health economists, capability researchers or health policy makers.

Admission Requirements

Basic knowledge of the theory and practice of health evaluations.

Admission Documents

  • Motivation letter
  • CV


Monday 6 – Friday 10 August 2018

Course Leader

Prof. Dr. Gert Jan van der Wilt
Health Technology Assessment
Department for Health Evidence

Course Fee

The fee includes the registration fees, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

Reduced Fee

€ 617     early bird discount – deadline 1 April 2018 (10%)
€ 582     partner + RU discount (15%)
€ 514     early bird + partner discount (25%)

Number of ECTS credits

2 ECTS credits

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