Our story

The International Hospital Federation is a global not-for-profit, non-governmental, membership organization.

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How it started

June 1929 in Atlantic City, USA…

Representatives of the world’s hospital and health systems gathered for the first ever International Hospital Congress. Following a successful congress, the International Hospital Association was born to continue the group’s ambition – learning from each other to improve health service delivery.

After the Second World War, the organization was renamed the International Hospital Federation in 1947.

In 2011, the IHF’s Governing Council took the strategic decision to move the headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland, to strengthen relations with other global institutions and NGOs.

Old Picture
Old Picture
Old Picture
Old Picture
Old Picture
international hospital congress 1929
international hospital congress 1929
international hospital congress 1929
international hospital congress 1929
international hospital congress 1929
international hospital congress 1929

1929

Representatives of the world's hospital and health systems gathered for the first ever International Hospital Congress. Following a successful congress, the International Hospital Association was born.

1947

After the Second World War, the organization was renamed to the International Hospital Federation in 1947.

1948

As early as 1948, the IHF entered into “official relations” with the World Health Organization and, since then, the two organizations have worked closely together on studies, projects, and public health seminars.

1950

The first international study tours, organized independently of the World Hospital Congress, took place in 1950. This was also the year that the first News Bulletin was shared with all IHF members in both English and French.

1966

Regional conferences were introduced in 1966, beginning in Europe, with others following in Manila, Mexico City, Dubai, Seoul, Bogota and Nairobi.

1978

Special study visits started in 1978, focusing on specific subjects, such as volunteers in mental health, planning district health services, quality assurance, child health services, and primary care.

1985

In 1985 the IHF Secretariat introduced computers to the office for the first time, massively reducing team time on congress registrations and preparation.

2011

The IHF’s Governing Council took the strategic decision to move the headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland, to strengthen relations with other global institutions and NGOs.

2015

The IHF Awards were launched in 2015 and are recognized around the world as the premier awards programme to honor hospitals and healthcare organizations.

2019

The final edition of the IHF's World Hospitals and Health Services journal was published, The whole collection was archived.

2022

The Geneva Sustainability Centre was established.

What we do

Connect internationally

We provide our members with a platform for knowledge exchange and networking with different actors in the health sector. Motivated by a shared commitment to well-managed hospitals, our members act together to improve the standard, quality, and level of healthcare service delivery.

Knowledge exchange

Connect at the annual World Hospital Congress, virtual events, and study tours. Special interest groups focus on the key issues for today’s hospital managers. Annual IHF Awards recognize and share good practice.

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Leadership development

Dedicated groups for association leaders, and women in leadership, a development programme for young executives, and a leadership competencies framework.

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Outreach and partnerships

Advocacy and international collaborations help us to carry out our work more effectively and find creative solutions to support our members facing a variety of challenges.

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Geneva Sustainability Centre

Driving net zero, climate resilient, and sustainable health systems: supporting hospitals to become leaders for sustainability in their communities.

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Well-managed hospitals improve health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

icon- Our vision

Our vision

Our vision is a world of healthy communities served by well-managed hospitals and healthcare services, where individuals can reach their highest potential for health.

icon- Our mission

Our mission

We connect healthcare leaders through international knowledge exchange and showcasing good practices. We support these leaders to excel with training and development. Through our members, we are the voice of hospitals on the global stage.

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Our strategy

The IHF Strategic Plan 2023–2025 will guide the work of the IHF towards increased satisfaction of its members and a stronger voice for hospitals on the global stage ahead of the organization’s 100th anniversary.

Activity reports

Activity Report 2021

Activity Report 2021

Activity reports summarize our activities, projects, and events as well as outcomes from our collaboration with other international organizations and NGOs.

The IHF Activity Report 2021 tells the story of an organization clearly focused on its mission: connecting healthcare leaders across the globe to share knowledge, ideas, and good practices.

Read on to learn about our performance, highlights, impact, and engagement in 2021. You’ll also find details of our leadership, membership, and the secretariat team.

News and insights

Look into our latest...

Why does your organization need a Chief Sustainability Officer?

Abu Dhabi and Geneva Sustainability Centre join forces on healthcare sustainability

As part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023, on 18 January the Geneva Sustainability Centre signed a strategic memorandum of...

Designing and implementing telehealth: Defining and measuring programme success

Interview with Rizza Rivera: Young Executive Leaders 2022 participant

We asked Rizza (from Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center, Philippines) to share her thoughts  on her experience as a participant...