The Harvard School of Public Health shield is based on the family arms of Dr. Henry P. Walcott (1838-1932), a Cambridge physician and acting president of the University. Walcott was a public health luminary, having served for 28 years as chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Health, and as president of the American Public Health Association. Walcott advanced the knowledge and application of the principles of bacteriology, sanitary science and medicine to a degree that made Massachusetts one of the world leaders in these domains.
The Walcott arms feature a white shield with a black cross whose arms end in three semicircles, or trefoils. At the end of each arm and in the center are yellow fleur-de-lis.