A Transformational Gift

Prajna BannerA Transformational Gift to Revolutionize Public Health Leadership Education

In 2012, an anonymous gift of $5 million was made to support the redesign and implementation of the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree program, an educational program aimed at strengthening health systems through the development of public health leaders for the 21st century. This gift was a key component of advancing the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s educational strategy as it approached its 100th anniversary in fall 2013.

Spearheaded by former Dean Julio Frenk, the redesign pushed the traditional discipline-based boundaries of academia, research, and public health to encourage a greater focus in coursework on the importance of leadership and on the complexities—political, economic, and social—of achieving global improvements in public health. At the time, this gift was the largest ever made to the School in support of education. Dean Frenk stated, “This gift will enable us to continue as the leading school of public health—first in quality as well as first in our capacity to shape the future.”

A portion of the gift has built out the DrPH Program to what it is today, while the endowment provides perpetual financial support for DrPH students to attend. Those who receive this support are known as Prajna Leadership Fellows. Prajna (Pra’-gyia) is a Sanskrit word that conveys ultimate wisdom—wisdom that cannot be reached by developing intellect alone. It entails insight from experience and understanding through the engagement with all that surrounds us. The donors hope that this fellowship endowment will encourage future leaders to merge intellect and practice together to compassionately advance the welfare of humanity.

“We have followed with admiration the work of the School for more than two decades, and this initiative is one of the most exciting things that we have seen during this period. It speaks to our deep belief in the power of young people—in particular, this generation of young people—to change the world.” 

–Anonymous donors and friends of the Harvard Chan School

The Harvard Chan School is profoundly grateful to the founding donors, who will serve as an inspiration to others to support the global mission of public health education.

This fellowship does not have an application process. If you are seeking financial assistance, visit the Office for Financial Aid site for more information.