Our history

The first public health school in America

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health traces its roots to public health activism at the beginning of the 20th century, a time of energetic social reform.

The School began as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, founded in 1913 as the first professional public health training program in America. In 1922, the School split off from MIT, and in 1946, it became an independent, degree-granting institution.

In 2014, the School was renamed in recognition of an extraordinary gift from The Morningside Foundation, established by the family of the late Mr. T.H. Chan.

Learn more about our impact.

Land acknowledgment

Harvard University and Harvard Chan School are located on the traditional and ancestral land of the Massachusett, the original inhabitants of what is now known as Boston and Cambridge. We pay respect to the people of the Massachusett Tribe, past and present, and honor the land itself, which remains sacred to the Massachusett people.

We understand this acknowledgment is insufficient to fully address the harm inflicted upon this community, and we have committed to pursuing anti-racist and anti-oppressive work.

The Harvard Chan School shield

Harvard Chan school shieldOur shield is based on the family arms of Dr. Henry P. Walcott (1838-1932), a Cambridge physician and acting president of Harvard University.

Walcott was a public health luminary who served as chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Health and president of the American Public Health Association. His contributions to bacteriology, sanitary science, and medicine made Massachusetts a world leader in these fields.