The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

[ Winter 2011]

School sets stage for global conversation with state-of-the-art webcasts.

In November 2010, the School presented a preview of The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health, featuring high-definition, broadcast-quality webcasts on key public health issues. From a new state-of-the-art studio, each webcast focuses on a critical health-related policy issue or science controversy faced by global decision makers in government, business, NGOs, foundations, and other areas of leadership. Using the unique convening power of Harvard, The Forum brings together leading scientific and academic experts from around the world with those in positions to address the issues, change policy, and initiate action. The Forum events will take place year-round, and will include both panel discussions and keynote addresses in front of large in-person audiences. The Forum is a flagship initiative of the new division of Policy Translation and Leadership Development.

The Forum’s preview event, “The Impact of the 2010 Elections on U.S. Health Care Reform.” From left, moderator Maggie Fox, health and science editor, Reuters; Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum and advisor on domestic and economic policy to the 2008 John McCain presidential campaign; David Cutler, Harvard professor of applied economics and advisor on health policy to the 2008 Barack Obama campaign; and Robert J. Blendon, HSPH professor of health policy and political analysis, whose expertise focuses on public opinion polling.

The Forum’s preview event, “The Impact of the 2010 Elections on U.S. Health Care Reform.” From left, moderator Maggie Fox, health and science editor, Reuters; Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum and advisor on domestic and economic policy to the 2008 John McCain presidential campaign; David Cutler, Harvard professor of applied economics and advisor on health policy to the 2008 Barack Obama campaign; and Robert J. Blendon, HSPH professor of health policy and political analysis, whose expertise focuses on public opinion polling.

The Forum’s webcasts—which can be viewed live and on-demand on all types of video devices—can be seen on a lively new interactive Web site, www.ForumHSPH.org. The Web site features videos of The Forum events on-demand, expert written commentary on a separate “Decision of the Week” blog, and practical resources for decision makers and their staffs. Online viewers are encouraged to become members of The Forum community, allowing them to join the discussion and post their own commentary on the health issues addressed.

The Forum director is Robin Herman, assistant dean for research communications at HSPH, who previously reported on health and social issues for The New York Times and the Washington Post. The chair of The Forum program planning committee is Jay Winsten, director of the Center for Health Communication at HSPH.

“The Forum is a 21st-century venue for quickly communicating information about evidence-based solutions among decision makers and scientists who are grappling with new and re-emerging health issues,” says Herman. “Modern health challenges cross boundaries of geography and responsibility, requiring an unprecedented cooperative response from leaders. In a technologically advanced world, our ambition is to create a global virtual venue, enabling this community to more easily share information and experiences.”

The Forum’s Preview Event—which took place in November 2010 in collaboration with Reuters news service—featured policy experts who discussed the impact of the 2010 congressional elections on the implementation of health care reform. Panelists included Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum, David Cutler, Harvard professor of applied economics, and Robert J. Blendon, HSPH professor of health policy and political analysis.