A Doctorate with Lofty Goals

Training in leadership, management, communications, and innovative thinking—and advanced education in public health—are the hallmarks of Harvard Chan School’s four-year-old doctor of public health (DrPH) degree. The lofty goal of the program, with 33 graduates to date, is to prepare students to become senior government health officials, executive directors of nongovernmental organizations, and leaders of major health care organizations around the globe—people with the high-level leadership skills necessary to bring about significant change in public health and health care.

Support for the program came from two significant gifts to Harvard Chan—a 2013 gift of $12.5 million from the Charina Endowment Fund and Richard L. (MBA ’59) and Ronay Menschel to help the School redesign its educational strategy (see page 51); and a 2016 anonymous $10 million gift, $1 million of which provided endowed funds for student scholarships.

Most public health doctoral programs are research-focused. According to Richard Siegrist, faculty director of Harvard Chan’s DrPH program, the School’s new degree fills a unique niche with its emphasis on real-world leadership skills. “If we really want to move public health forward in the future,” he says, “we’ve got to focus a lot more on how do we get things done.”

Adds Richard Menschel, “Better-educated public health leaders have the capacity to improve the health of us all.”