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Message from Dean Williams

Welcome to the Campaign for Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Since its inception, this Campaign has been about more than just the School. It is about the well-being of the world itself and the ability of this Harvard Chan community to expand its work here at home and globally to improve people’s health. Through public health education, research, practice, and service, the School is changing lives for the better.

Since the Campaign began, we have undertaken a significant transformation in our educational programs. We have instituted new degree programs and updated existing ones, developed innovative curricula with a greater emphasis on practical skill-building, and made changes that will encourage diversity in the personal and professional backgrounds of our students. We have built new, flexible classrooms for team-based learning. And we are continuing to expand opportunities for case-based instruction, field work, and technology-enhanced education for students in many of our programs.

Within and beyond our walls, we continue to focus on four major threats that cause disease, disability, and death around the globe: old and new pandemics, harmful physical and social environments, poverty and humanitarian crises, and failing health systems. These threats represent a clarion call to the entire public health community, and I am gratified that with the help of our many friends and supporters, we are responding to this call and making a real difference in the lives of people around the world.

As we look to the future, the aging of the country’s—and the world’s—population will require health care solutions on an unprecedented scale, as well as new ways of thinking about work, education, and families. Climate change threatens lives, livelihoods, and health across the globe as sea levels rise, fresh water becomes more scarce, agricultural lands become barren, and infectious diseases move into new areas. High levels of violence in this country present a threat to public health that affects not just individuals and families but entire communities. These issues demand our attention as public health practitioners and researchers, and we are devoting significant resources to addressing them. Yet, as serious as these issues may be, we are also engaging in exciting new research on the human microbiome—work that brings the promise of important insights into a range of threats to human health and a transformation of our understanding of the processes of disease and of aging.

As always, an investment in the people, ideas, and infrastructure of the Harvard Chan School has immediate effects both here at home and across the globe, and it pays off again and again—in the lives and dreams of individuals and in the health and well-being of entire societies. With your help, we will continue to change policies, practices, and personal behavior. We will advance scientific understanding. And we will empower new generations of public health leaders to create a healthier world for everyone.

This site describes our major undertakings in this Campaign and features a few of the people who are tackling these threats—what they are doing now and what they are capable of doing with your support. Please join us and thank you for your support.

Michelle A. Williams, ScD ’91

Dean of the Faculty