IMG_7734Harvard Chan currently offers two courses directly related to entrepreneurship in health care:

  • HPM 557 – Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Health Care
  • ID 511 – Social Entrepreneurship in Health and the Environment

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Health Care

This case-based course is jointly taught by Richard Siegrist, Adjunct Lecturer on Health Care Management, and Teresa Chahine, Research Associate.

The courses are designed to expose students to the theory and practice of innovation and entrepreneurship in health care settings, both domestically and abroad. The first half of the sessions focus on various aspects of starting and growing a new health care business, whether a for-profit or non-profit venture. The second half of the sessions focus on fostering innovation and intrapreneurship in established organizations such as non-profit, for-profit or governmental organizations engaged in health care related activities.

The course places particular emphasis on the development and practical application of innovation and entrepreneurial skills in the health care. By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Analyze the idea, value proposition, team, business model, financing and execution of any early stage health care company and make recommendations for improvement.
  2. Assess the innovation environment, challenges and barriers for any established health care company and make recommendations for improvement.
  3. Generate new, innovative solutions to optimize resources and improve outcomes in health care.

Social Entrepreneurship in Health and the Environment

This course is taught by Teresa Chahine, Research Associate.

The course introduces students to the concept of social entrepreneurship, which entails developing and implementing innovative, effective, scalable and financially viable social products or services. Students gain practice in thinking about public health problems in a solution-oriented manner, and learning how to channel those ideas into a well-planned business case for an intervention (whether in the form of a project or organization). Examples of social entrepreneurship initiatives are provided through weekly readings and guest speakers.

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab (SE Lab) for US and Global Health

This course is taught by Gordon Bloom, Lecturer on Health Policy and Management, and is held at the Harvard Innovation Lab.

It is a collaboratory workshop and a university incubator where student teams design and develop innovative U.S. and international social change initiatives, ventures and organizations, addressing major challenges in public health and healthcare. SE Lab fuses theoretical and practical approaches. It offers an overview of selected concepts and frameworks of social entrepreneurship while concurrently enabling students to develop team based action projects.

SE Lab participants collaborate by brainstorming, developing and iterating ideas, and by designing innovative and feasible solutions and plans for the problem and opportunity chosen. Class sessions combine lectures, case discussion, and small group workshops, as well as the participation of domain experts, social entrepreneurs, and guest faculty.

Harvard Chan students also have the opportunity to cross-register in courses related to innovation and entrepreneurship at other Harvard Schools.  A listing of those courses is available at

Other Courses on Innovation

Innovating for Health Transformation in Africa (Summer 2016)

This Harvard summer program is taught by Thomas Burke, MD, and colleagues on the campus of the Kisumu Medical Education Trust, in Western Kenya.  Dr. Burke is Chief, Division of Global Health and Human Rights at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Its purpose is to examine and understand the role of innovations in fostering transformative and sustainable healthcare improvements on the African continent. Understanding the greatest challenges and opportunities for change will lay the foundation upon which the students will explore diverse approaches for developing, integrating and adopting innovations into a resource-constrained setting.

The program is divided into four broad sections:

  • An introduction to the context of Kenya and the East African community – We will explore the local and regional culture, health care delivery systems, and priority challenges.
  • Exploration of what it means to take a chosen identified healthcare problem and to innovate in order to develop a scalable solution – We initially will develop an understanding of the greatest healthcare challenges confronting the African continent followed by case-based approaches to problem characterization, solution development and refinement, and ultimately testing delivery models for healthcare improvement. In these cases we will additionally review policy and economic implications.
  • Field experience – Students will be grouped into teams of 2 or 3 and closely mentored to spend considerable time in the field working through the strategic components of a chosen healthcare innovation and/or technology. Emphasis will be on thoroughly understanding a chosen healthcare problem, how a viable hypothesis and strategy for solution is generated, and then how a plan for implementation and testing is rigorously deployed and integrated.
  • Project – The last week of the summer program will involve preparing and delivering a final paper and a group presentation.

The program is designed to accommodate students from all fields interested in the role of innovations to transform and make Africa healthier.