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Debrework Zewdie, Menschel Fellow, facilitating a student debate in her Spring 2015 course.

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

These courses will focus on various leadership challenges in areas such as, politics and public health, health equity, policy implementation, poverty and access to healthcare, and universal health coverage.

Leadership will function as the common thread highlighted in each course.

Eligibility to enroll: These courses are 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 Harvard Chan must cross-register through the Harvard University Course Catalog. These courses will fill on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Interested undergraduates must first get approval from their degree program, and can take these courses for a letter-grade only.


SPRING 1, 2016 | GHP 552-3 | Leadership Development in Global Health

Making Policy Leadership Matter for Global Health: Navigating Choppy Political Seas in a Real World

Instructor: Nils Daulaire, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Representative on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (2010-2014)

Wednesdays (Jan 27-Mar 9) | 8:30-10:20 A.M. | Kresge 202B

The world is marked by vast disparities in health and well-being, within countries as well as among them. A half century of rapid globalization has changed the dynamics of these disparities, bringing healthy and unhealthy populations into greater proximity than previously and creating multiple risk streams moving in many directions, and driven by commercial and social dynamics associated with globalization as much as by the transmission of infectious pathogenic organisms.

The role of the policy leader is to bring about meaningful change that will substantially improve overall levels of health and reduce risks for catastrophic health events and financial ruin, on the individual, national and global levels. This must take place in the political context of competition for limited resources, ideological considerations and conflicts that often override health considerations, and national as well as economic interests. Failure to recognize and address these realities leads to policy failure as well.

In order to be effective, a policy leader must be well-versed in the epidemiological facts and public health dynamics, must be able to identify the most strategically critical and politically feasible intervention points and craft policies to address those, must be capable of mapping out and selling an agenda that maximizes political support and minimizes opposition, must marshal champions and key stakeholders, and — not least — must understand and address the relationships between abstract policy and concrete effects on the ground, to avoid well-intended or superficially attractive policies that have no real impact; or worse, contrary unintended consequences.

This class will examine the principal drivers of global health disparities and risks, consider strategies and approaches (both technology-driven and values-focused) that have been used to address them, discuss national and international political dynamics that have played a prominent role over the past few decades, and look at real-world conflicts and consequences. Students will be encouraged to challenge implicit assumptions, non-critical “group think” and political correctness that can reduce actual meaningful and lasting impact. They will learn how to identify and act on key issues, assess and address likely support and opposition to policy initiatives, and look explicitly at actual outcomes on the intended target groups. Examples will be drawn from policies pursued by the U.S. government as well as those of other key countries where health disparities are most marked, as well as multilateral institutions, notably WHO and the Global Fund.

Read more about Dr. Daulaire here.