About the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is unlike any other organization. Our mission and impact is global and everyone plays a role in improving the health of people, not only in this country, but in all nations. This section of the New Employee Orientation Portal is designed to provide you with an understanding of the community you will be joining and the amazing work we do here. Please take the take time to learn more about the School’s work and how you will contribute!

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History | Mission and Objectives | Milestones in the School’s History | Community Departments and Centers | Work-Life Integration | Affinity Groups

banner red IIITestimonials of Staff at the School

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is home to many staff members in all fields and places in their careers. Hear more about their experiences at the School and also how they have learned and developed over the years.




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History of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health traces its roots to public health activism at the beginning of the last century, a time of energetic social reform. The School began as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, founded in 1913 as the first professional training program of public health in America. The partnership offered courses in preventive medicine at Harvard Medical School, sanitary engineering at Harvard University and allied subjects at MIT.

In 1922, the School split off from MIT, helped by a sizable grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. From the start, faculty were expected to commit themselves to research as well as teaching. In 1946, no longer affiliated with the medical school, the School became an independent, degree-granting body.

Many of the changes that unfolded in public health over the 20th century trace their origins to SPH. Initially, researchers were preoccupied by deadly epidemic infections and by the scourges of unfettered industrialization. During the School’s first 50 years, the public health enterprise matured, drawing on a full range of analytic, scientific and Quote: "Regardless of your place in the organzition, everyone has a voice". - Faculty Chairpolicy disciplines. Today, the School’s purview extends from the genes to the globe. Its work encompasses not only the basic public health disciplines of biostatistics and epidemiology, environmental and occupational health, but also molecular biology, quantitative social sciences, policy and management, human rights, and health communications. Its leadership and outreach have informed public health practice around the world from decades of research in the People’s Republic of China to studies of health system reform in Taiwan and Poland, from collaborations on environmental health in Cyprus to intensive field training in Latin America.

What is Public Health?

Mission and Objectives

The overarching mission of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is to advance the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication.

To pursue this mission, the School produces knowledge through research, reproduces knowledge through higher education, and translates knowledge into evidence that can be communicated to the public, policy makers, and practitioners to advance the health of populations.

Our objectives are:

  • to provide the highest level of education to public health scientists, practitioners, and leaders
  • to foster new discoveries leading to improved health for the people of this country and all nations
  • to strengthen health capacities and services for communities
  • to inform policy debate, disseminate health information, and increase awareness of health as a public good and fundamental right
  • From advancing scientific discovery to educating national and international leaders, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has been at the forefront of efforts to benefit the Quote: "At HSPH, there is a strong sense of social justice and passion". - department administrator health of populations worldwide. Shaping new ideas in our field and communicating them effectively will continue to be priorities in the years ahead as we serve society’s changing health needs. For more information, please visit our ‘About’ page.

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Milestones in the School’s History

Milestones in the School’s History

Quote: "Very small things can make such a huge difference". - Program Coordinator Founded in 1913, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health grew out of the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers, the nation’s first graduate training program in public health. During the past century, the School’s faculty members—frequently working in collaboration with others at Harvard and around the world—have made landmark contributions revolutionizing public health.

Watch amazing videos at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health YouTube page.

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Click on the following links to learn more about each area of the School:
Departments and Degree Program
Research Centers
Administrative Offices
Student Services
SPH Human Resources

More information regarding fiscal year operating expenses.

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Work/Life Integration at Harvard

Work/Life Integration at Harvard

Quote: "We are trying to support staff in blending their career and personal lives". - HLC work/lifeHarvard provides faculty, staff, and post docs comprehensive support for Work/Life needs. The Work/Life Program Manager on Harvard’s Longwood Campus provides you with customized resources and support for personal or professional needs to make life’s transitions a bit more manageable. You may request resources for yourself, or for those you work with or manage.

  • Childcare
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Adult care
  • Wellness and Self-Care
  • Discounts and services for employees
  • Work/Life Seminars

 More details and links to all work/life resources.

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Affinity Groups

Affinity Groups

Harvard University has many affinity groups including the ones listed below. Click on the icon for other Harvard affinity groups or search online for Harvard Affinity groups for additional information. For more information, visit the Office of the Assistant to the President which provides information about Links, Groups and Centers.

More information on Harvard’s affinity groups.

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