Lives transformed

From left to right: Professor Michael VanRooyen, Jonathan Lavine and Jeannie Lavine, and Dean Julio Frenk

Fall 2012 ]

On May 1, 2012, Harvard School of Public Health launched the Harvard Humanitarian Academy.

This month, as in every September for nearly the last century, a new group of students walks through the doors of Harvard School of Public Health. Like the generations before them, they enter with hope, excitement, maybe a touch of fear—and with plans to change the world.

There’s no better place for them to do so than at HSPH. From the classroom studies on Huntington Avenue to hands-on lessons in developing countries, our students transform the health of millions. And when people’s health improves through disease prevention and health promotion, so, too, do the economies of their countries. As Dean Julio Frenk says, “Investing in health is not only the right thing to do on ethical grounds, but it is also the smart thing to do in order to achieve economic prosperity.” As our cover story, Public Health and the Economy, shows, public health is a critical economic engine.

Here at HSPH, philanthropy is the financial fuel that powers everything HSPH accomplishes. Without the generosity of all of our donors—from the 1,400-plus alumni who supported us this year to the largest of foundations—our work simply could not happen. One case in point: With their gift of $5 million, Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine have established the Lavine Family Humanitarian Studies Initiative, as part of the new Humanitarian Academy within the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). Directed by HSPH professor of global health and population Michael VanRooyen, HHI advances the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide. The Lavines’ transformative gift has enabled the creation of a first-of-its-kind global resource for educating and training leaders to respond to crises caused by war, genocide, and natural disasters.

I am delighted to report that this year, our contributors have been more generous than ever, supporting the School with a landmark total of $63.7 million. To all of you who have given your time, talent, and treasure, know that you are making an extraordinary difference in people’s lives—here on campus and throughout the world. I cannot thank you enough.

Ellie Starr,
Vice Dean for External Relations

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