Harvard Chan School hosts a diverse array of speakers, invited to share both scholarly research and personal perspectives. They do not speak for the School, and hosting them does not imply endorsement of their views, organizations, or employers.

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Building Connected Communities: An action forum for leaders working to address social isolation, loneliness, and connection

October 12th, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - October 14th, 2023 @ 1:00 pm

Virtual In Person
Building Connected Communities flyer with city background with blue skies and people in a green park below, text on purple background with event details

We are currently facing a crisis of connection in the United States. Recent studies show that millions of Americans are socially isolated, lonely, or both, which negatively impacts their quality of life and health outcomes. These high rates of disconnection cost employers $406 billion and Medicare nearly $7 billion each year.

Our goal is to address this complex challenge, community insights and solutions for greater social connection from pioneering researchers, social innovators, and corporate, nonprofit, and civic leaders will be highlighted. We hope the event will spark action and transformation at the local, state, and national levels.

Register for the In-Person Event

Register for the Virtual Event

Attendees are invited to participate in plenary sessions, small group workshops, and a half-day field trip to neighborhoods in Boston for learning exchanges with community organizations about their challenges and solutions to foster social connectedness. Attendance at concurrent panels, meals and receptions, and site visits will be limited to registered attendees, but the following plenary panels and addresses will be free and open to the entire Harvard and wider community.

Thursday (10/12), Harvard’s Memorial Church:

1:00PM: Social Connection and Flourishing Throughout Life, with Robert Waldinger

1:20PM: Drivers of Disconnection, with Robert Putnam, Theresa Kuchler, and Tyler VanderWeele.

4:50PM: Building Connected Communities, with Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Mayor Hilary Schieve, Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati, Mayor Farrah N. Khan.

5:30PM: Keynote Address: U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

Friday (10/13), Harvard’s Memorial Church:

11:00AM: iGen: Social Connection and Loneliness Among the Smartphone Generation, with Jean Twenge.

For further information about the event, including a detailed agenda, or to register for the full program, please visit the Building Connected Communities Homepage.


Start: October 12th, 2023 @ 1:00 pm
End: October 14th, 2023 @ 1:00 pm
Calendars: Public Events, School-wide Events, University-wide Events
Event types: Conferences and Symposia, Lectures / Seminars / Forums, Social and Community-building Events, Trainings and Workshops


Cambridge campus
Memorial Church, Sever Hall, the Harvard Faculty Club, etc.
Virtual In Person