About W&HI


© 2000 Lavina Velasco, Courtesy of Photoshare, El Salvador

The Women and Health Initiative focuses on the diverse and inextricable links between women and health, encompassing the unfinished women’s health agenda, documenting women’s roles and responsibilities at all levels of the health system, and examining the myriad complex interactions between women and health. The W&HI treats women as drivers of change as well as both users and providers of health care.

Priority Issues 

1) Reducing maternal morbidity and mortality

2) Integrating reproductive health care and the emerging epidemic of chronic diseases among women in developing countries, with special focus on breast cancer in low and middle-income countries

3) Estimating the financial and programmatic value of women’s contributions at all levels of the health system


Drawing on the historical strength, convening power, and interdisciplinary tradition of the Harvard School of Public Health, the W&HI will coordinate internal resources and form partnerships with a variety of external organizations. Specific programmatic goals include:

  • Building a platform for closer collaboration and information sharing around W&HI priorities within the HSPH and across the broader Harvard University community
  • Mapping existing resources and expertise across the University, identifying knowledge and educational gaps, and promoting research and teaching to fill them
  • Supporting the translation of research into innovative and effective public health policies and practices
  • Partnering to develop and advocate for a comprehensive women and health agenda
  • Forming links with domestic and international partners to further the goals of the W&HI
  • Raising the visibility of and attracting new attention and resources to the area of women and health