Happy 100th birthday, HSPH!

As we celebrate the School’s 100th birthday, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the past century’s public health accomplishments.

Over the course of the 20th century, global life expectancy soared by 30 years, 25 of which are attributable to public health. Here in the United States, we’ve seen major strides on an array of indicators. For example:

  • Life expectancy has soared from 52.5 years to 78.7 years.
  • Infant mortality has plummeted from 99.9 deaths to 6.15 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Maternal mortality has dropped from 610 deaths to 21 deaths per 100,000 live births.

To learn more, check out the “Then and Now” infographic from the just-published special Centennial double issue of Harvard Public Health magazine.

This is not to say that we don’t still face enormous challenges. At the heart of the School’s capital campaign, launching this week, are four urgent global threats:

  1. Old and new pandemics, including diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria that kill millions each year;
  2. Harmful physical and social environments that endanger our air, food, water, and communities
  3. Poverty and humanitarian crises that lead to unnecessary suffering and death, economic loss, and social instability and
  4. Failing health systems that lack the leadership needed to make the best use of scarce resources

Our ability to successfully tackle the world’s most urgent health threats will go far toward determining what the future looks like, and Harvard School of Public Health is committed to its continued role as a vanguard of public health progress. In the meantime, let’s take a moment to celebrate. Happy birthday, HSPH!

You’re invited: Please join us at HSPH’s community-wide birthday celebration at 3pm on Friday, October 25, in the Kresge cafeteria. There will be cake—and a champagne toast! Plus the mysteries of our time capsule will be revealed. (More information about upcoming Centennial activities is available on our website.) 

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Is there an event, person, or discovery in Harvard School of Public Health history that you’d like to read about? Send your suggestions to centennial@hsph.harvard.edu.

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