Courses with Senior Leadership Fellows

Each Senior Leadership Fellow teaches a half-semester course at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Every course is unique and reflects the individual fellow’s career and leadership.

Eligibility to enroll:

These courses are being offered for a grade or audit, and are open to all Harvard University students who can register through the standard registration process. Students from schools other than HSPH must cross-register through the Harvard University Course Catalog.

Interested undergraduates must first get approval from their degree program, and can take these courses for a letter grade only. These courses will fill on a first-come, first-serve basis.



Dr. Debrework Zewdie

GHP 552-2: Developing Global Health Leadership: Combating HIV/AIDS to UHC

Instructor: Dr. Debrework Zewdie, former Director of the Global AIDS Program of the World Bank; former Deputy Executive Director and COO of the Global Fund

8:30–10:20 A.M.

In September 2015, world leaders will gather at the United Nations to assess the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight goals that have stimulated unprecedented global collaboration to address the needs of the world’s poorest populations. At this time, world leaders will also determine a new set of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the 8 MDGs, there are 3 goals focused on health including MDG 6 to reduce new infections in HIV, TB, and malaria. Alternatively, the SDGs are expected to have one goal dedicated to health: universal health coverage (UHC).

This course will focus on the critical role of leaders in setting and implementing global goals. It draws on lessons from the last thirty years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its relevance for achieving the SDGs of universal health coverage. Students will critically look at how leaders and activists influenced the strategy and policy direction at different times during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They will analyze the impact of HIV/AIDS programs on the health care system in a few countries and assess what will happen to these programs as the global health focus shifts to UHC. The course will also study the role of the World Bank, the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS (PEPFAR), and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic and strengthening national health care systems.

A clear relationship exists between countries that had successful HIV/AIDS programs and those who have already achieved the health-related MDGs or are on schedule to meet these goals by 2015. A number of lessons emerge that inform how global health can be shaped for the future, continuing the positive momentum achieved through the MDGs. Learning from these past experiences and incorporating that knowledge into global health policy and practice has great potential to improve health outcomes as well as the efficient and effective use of limited resources. Furthermore, these lessons will reiterate the centrality of building health care systems robust enough not only to quickly respond to emerging epidemics (e.g. Ebola) but also deal with prevention of new infections, care and treatment of existing diseases.

Read more about Dr. Zewdie here.


Dr. Leslie Ramsammy

GHP 552-1: Leadership Development in Global Health: Politics, Public Health and the Right to Health

Instructor: Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Minister of Agriculture of Guyana

8:30–10:20 A.M.

Public health programs and initiatives have gained more international attention, and progress has been made to curb many health issues. Still, aspects of the political and social structure of a community impede progress. How can measures to improve air quality balance the personal choice to smoke and the right to clean air? Must sexual health programs contested by socially conservative groups be fully established in spite of their objections or implemented gradually? How do we balance the right to promote culture and respect traditions when traditional practices can be detrimental to individual health? These and other questions will be answered in this course.

This class will focus on how leaders must navigate complex social and political environments to improve the health of communities. Examples will draw from current efforts to curb tobacco use in the Caribbean, to achieve universal HIV treatment, to address impending antimicrobial resistance globally and recognize the rights of LGBTI persons. By identifying potential challenges to implementation and the positions of stakeholders, students will gain the tools needed to lead communities and nations to a healthier future.

Read more about Dr. Ramsammy here.