Educational Programs

HSPH has a unique and longstanding history of developing statistical, epidemiological, and decision-analytic methods for health technology assessment and resource allocation, including outcomes research, causal inference, and cost-effectiveness analysis. This history is also reflected in HSPH’s educational programs.

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In 1973, Dean Howard Hiatt established the Center for the Analysis of Health Practices and recruited into that Center many established scientists such as Professor Frederick Mosteller, as well as future pioneers in the field, including former Dean Harvey Fineberg, and Professors Nan Laird, Milton Weinstein, and William Hsiao among others. Later, Dean Hiatt and Dr. Lee Goldman established the Program in Clinical Effectiveness, which has trained thousands of clinical investigators, including many current Harvard faculty members, in the methods of comparative effectiveness research.

HSPH has fostered the careers of hundreds of clinical researchers and evaluative scientists practicing comparative effectiveness research. No other school of public health or university-based program offers comprehensive training in health decision science at the scale provided at HSPH. A landmark example is the PhD Program in Health Policy Decision Sciences track of the Harvard University.

The Program in Causal Inference in the Department of Epidemiology is the most recent embodiment of the school’s longstanding expertise in analysis of longitudinal and observational data. The advances in statistical theory and methods for making causal inference from observational data led by Jamie Robins, Miguel Hernan, Tyler VanderWeele, and others, are critically important to the national CER agenda — as evidenced by the vibrant debate about the appropriate mix of pragmatic randomized trials and observational studies for PCORI’s research portfolio. The Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics have solidified their intellectual leadership in methodologies for evaluating health interventions against chronic and infectious diseases. Interest in evaluating the effectiveness and safety of pharmaceuticals has led to the Program in Pharmacoepidemiology in the Epidemiology Department, and several collaborations with industry in the Biostatistics Department.