Over 20 years, The Equity Initiative’s goal is to build a thriving and sustainable network of multi-sectoral actors to create a community for health equity in Southeast Asia and China.

In 2016, The Equity Initiative launched its fellowship program to empower young leaders to pursue and advocate social justice in health the ASEAN region. The fellowship program is designed to bring together a diverse group of professionals who have demonstrated commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm for leading change for health equity. Fellows may come from a broad range of sectors and disciplines—medicine, public health, economics, policy-making, non-governmental social action, environment, legal, business, and communications—and will join their peers for 6 weeks of in-person sessions over one year.

The fellowship is a fully funded award. Selection is based on demonstrated achievement and progress. Candidates will be vetted by nomination committees and chosen by an independent selection committee.


The Fellowship year consists of peer, experiential, and blended online learning over 6 weeks. The core curriculum is designed to promote transformative leadership development and to motivate, inspire and generate social commitment for health equity. Throughout the fellowship year Fellows will be supported in project development. In the second year Fellows will receive seed funding to conduct individual or collaborative health equity projects.


The 5-day Opening Retreat is the initial orientation for the Fellows in which they bond with their cohort, become grounded in the core modules and ideals of the program, engage with leadership development theory and practice, gain exposure to on-the-ground local health equity issues, and are stimulated by dialogue and debate around health equity values. The 2017 Opening Retreat will be held from March 29-April 3 in Nha Trang, Viet Nam.


The two-week Global Learning event involves extensive international travel, linking Fellows to world-class scholars and inspirational leaders to deepen learning about equity values and approaches, further expose them to leadership skills and competencies, and to introduce them to cultural and historical contexts and on-the-ground social movements outside of Southeast Asia. The 2017 event will be held from May 7-14 in India and June 4-10 at Harvard University and Boston, MA.


Asia Trek is a one week experiential immersion in the region with exposure to key health actors, action and policymakers. The goal of Asia Trek is to provide the Fellows with a local lens into transnational health equity issues to spark dialogue, critical thinking and problem analysis. The 2017 Asia Trek will be held from August 13-20.


The Project Accelerator is a week long period during which Fellows will work together in a quiet setting to finalize their second-year project proposals with peer and expert support. It will also build leadership and management competencies through specifically organized action-oriented training workshops. The 2017 event will be held from October 30-November 5.


The Annual Forum is the culminating event of the fellowship year and a signature event of the Initiative in building an equity community. The Forum, attended by Fellows and allies in the region and globally, will promote action for health equity in the countries of Southeast Asia and China. The 2018 cohort will be welcomed as the 2017 cohort graduates into alumni of the program. The Second Annual Forum will be held from February 3-6, 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand in partnership with the PMAC Conference, “Making the World Safe from the Threats of Emerging Infectious Diseases.”


Blended Online Learning

A private portal for the Fellows allows them to access curricular materials, such as customized online courses, background readings and videos, and event logistics to complement fellowship activities and maximize time for deeper learning during in-person sessions. Online learning offers both continuous access to information and timed delivery of online content, before, during and after each fellowship event.


Second-Year Project

The Equity Initiative is providing development support and seed funding for Fellows to undertake individual or group equity-oriented action projects as they graduate from the fellowship program. The goal of the second-year project is for Fellows to put into practice the core values of health equity and leadership through special project design and implementation. Fellows can choose to pursue a range of activities, including action, policy, or research.