Aaron Blaakman is an
international health economist consultant. As an international health economist
consultant he works for various organizations that support developing countries
on issues related to health economics/financing and health systems development.
Over the past five years, Blaakman has had the opportunity to work for
organizations including the World Bank, World Health Organization, European
Union, U.S. Agency for International Development, UK Department for
International Development, and the Asian Development Bank.
A typical day for Blaakman would include
meetings with the Ministries of Health and international development partners,
conducting site visits in remote areas, generating analyses and writing
reports, or flying in the Emirates A380. Blaakman is currently working on and leading health financing projects
in Kenya, Lao PDR, Libya, Mongolia, Somalia, and Yemen. His work in Libya
focuses on supporting the establishment of the Department of Health Financing
Affairs in the Ministry of Health. In Lao PDR, he works with the Ministry of
Health to establish a 10-year national health financing strategy. In Somalia
and Yemen, he is responsible for establishing the building blocks for health
Prior to his position as health economist
consultant, Blaakman had the opportunity of working in countries such
as Bangladesh, Republic of Congo/Brazzaville, Mauritius, and Tajikistan. His
work in each country required his adaption to the country and cultural context
to effectively do his job. Through his work he was able to build many relationships
with local counterparts and he sees this as an accomplishment in many ways.
In 2010, Blaakman had the opportunity
of supporting the establishment of the Health Economics and Financing
Directorate in Afghanistan, conducting a study-tour in Rwanda with a group of
government officials from Laos, navigating field visits in southern Mindanao,
Philippines, and flying in commercial aircraft approximately 800 hours. This to
date is one of his most notable accomplishments, in his opinion. Additionally,
he facilitated for two Lao officials from the Ministry of Health and Finance to
attend the late Dr. Bill Duncombe's course on Public Budgeting that year. This
was an exceptionally memorable course for him and much needed in Laos.
Maxwell provided Blaakman with the
fundamentals, the core skill set in public management, budgeting, finance and
organization, which many public and private organizations strive to achieve. Some
of his favorite professors included Bill Duncombe, Bernard Jump, and Ron
Sanders. The best courses in his opinion were public budgeting and the capstone
seminar, the format of which he continues to apply in various country workshops.
During his time at Maxwell, Blaakman received
the University Fellowship Award from Syracuse University and the Mark and
Pearle Clements Scholarship Award to conduct an internship in South Korea. Blaakman
is grateful to have received both financial awards and even stated, “These
funds undoubtedly provided me the seeds to make the contributions that I am able
to make today.” His advice to current Maxwell students it to build a
relationship inside and outside of Maxwell. He believes if you work hard, you
will be rewarded.
Blaakman graduated from Fordham University
in 1991 with a bachelor of arts in economics. In 1996, he graduated from Syracuse
University with a dual master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell
School and social work from Falk College. Working on a dual degree was
challenging for him, but Blaakman believes it was well worth it.
Blaakman obtained his doctorate in social policy/health economics in
2006 from Brandeis University.