A Message From Dean Julio Frenk

There are few joys more profound than belonging to a community that is driven by a sense of shared mission. For more than 100 years, the Harvard School of Public Health—now the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—has carried the banner of prevention around the globe, educating the next generation of public health leaders, informing policy and health care debate, and conducting excellent and relevant research.

Over the course of my career, I have learned to see public health as a crossroads where multiple dimensions intersect: biology and society, individual and population, evidence and ethics, analysis and action. The School community, in collaboration with partners from the rest of Harvard University and from all over the globe, is in the process of building a truly integrative framework to better address these complexities.

I assumed the deanship in the midst of a global economic crisis that posed serious challenges to everyone. It was also, however, a time of leadership renewal in the United States, which radiated a message of hope to its own society and to the rest of the world. In this complex context, we must not lose sight of our longer-term mission. In particular, we can all find strength in the fact that the quality of our current work provides a firm foundation for progress in the future.

Public health is at the threshold of a new era fueled by four simultaneous revolutions: in the life sciences; in information and communication technologies; in systems thinking, allowing us to comprehend and transform complexity; and finally, in the human rights revolution, which provides the ethical foundation for so much of our work. We need to rise to the challenges and harness the potential of these developments in an increasingly global world to realize the fundamental right to health for every human being. No other school is as well positioned as ours to lead this new era of public health. Together our scholars, students, staff, alumni, friends, and partners will help to shape public health in the 21st century.

I look forward to building upon our heritage as stewards of public health.

Julio Frenk