Over 20 years, The Equity Initiative’s goal is to build a thriving and sustainable network of health equity advocates and champions 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 national committees and chosen by an independent regional selection committee.


The fellowship year consists of peer, experiential, and blended online learning over 6 weeks. The program experience is beyond traditional academic coursework with the learning organized around two themes — health equity and leadership. Competencies are developed over the course of the fellowship year through core readings, interactive sessions with peers and guest faculty, panel discussions and debates, field visits, skill-building workshops and project development. Cross-cutting the learning, the program seeks to inspire and deepen Fellows’ commitment to advance social justice in health. In the second year, Fellows receive seed funding to conduct collaborative health equity projects.


The Opening Retreat is the initial orientation for the Fellows in which they become grounded in the core modules and ideals of the program, engage with leadership development theory and practice, and gain exposure to health equity frameworks and values.


Global Learning I is the first half of a two-week event that takes Fellows beyond Southeast Asia for international exposures and introduces Fellows to cultural, political and historical contexts of on-the-ground health equity issues and social movements.


Global Learning II is the second-half of the Global Learning event that connects Fellows with world-class scholars and inspirational leaders and deepens their learning through academic sessions at Harvard University.

Together the Global Learning experiences provide an opportunity for Fellows to become exposed to diverse perspectives and participate in exchange across disciplines, cultures and geographies.



Asia Trek is a one-week experiential immersion in the region with exposure to key health actors, action and policymakers through field visits, panel discussions and debates, and dialogue with community leaders. The goal of Asia Trek is to provide Fellows with a local lens into transnational health equity issues to spark dialogue, critical thinking and problem analysis.


The Project Accelerator is a 5-day period during which Fellows refine proposals for their collaborative health equity projects with feedback from peers and guidance from experts. Leadership and management competencies are built through action-oriented training workshops.


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, promotes action for health equity in the countries of Southeast Asia and China. Incoming cohorts are welcomed as Fellows graduate into alumni of the program.


Community Building

We strongly believe that a community of Fellows from diverse backgrounds—with strong, shared values in social justice and equity—can achieve much greater impact that any individual or solitary group along. Thus, the fellowship year is just the beginning of a life-long journey for our Fellows.

Beyond their fellowship year, Fellows will be linked with each other and wide health equity practitioners through peer, country and regional networks with the primary purpose to provide a nurturing, enabling and empowering environment to build a long-term community for promoting health equity.


Second-Year Projects

The Equity Initiative is providing development support and seed funding for Fellows to undertake 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.