Dean’s message: A legacy worth preserving

[ Winter 2013 ]

When I became the Dean of Harvard School of Public Health four years ago, my goal was that of a good physician: to first do no harm. The School has an amazing legacy of research that has saved the lives and eased the suffering of people all over the world. Its work has kept infants from being infected by the AIDS virus; drawn an easy-to-follow picture of a healthy diet; brought about clean air regulations in American cities; helped humanitarian aid workers work more effectively in fast-moving crises; and transformed ideas and practices across the spectrum of public health. That legacy must always be preserved.

But maintaining the School’s place as public health’s premier research institution is just one of my priorities. I have also focused on translating the School’s science into policies and interventions. This second aim is inseparable from the first. After all, HSPH has been successful at translating research to improve people’s lives primarily because we have developed an impressive scientific base to translate.

In today’s complicated funding landscape, however, both of these institutional aspirations are being challenged. HSPH receives approximately 70 percent of its revenue from sponsored research, primarily from the U.S. government. And while one of my top objectives has been to steer the School toward greater diversification of its revenue sources, much also depends on our strong and committed donor

This issue of Harvard Public Health recognizes the generous contributions of our loyal donors and alumni, who enable us to develop powerful ideas that make the world a healthier place. In the coming year, HSPH will be a pivotal part of an ambitious, University-wide fundraising campaign, with a public launch likely in the fall of 2013.

With your gifts, we can continue to inform and influence everything from individual behaviors to health care systems to government policies. We can continue to convene global leaders from a wide variety of fields. We can continue our rigorous research and effective teaching of today’s and tomorrow’s public health leaders. And as Dean, I will continue to protect and expand the world-class science education and translation that improves the quality of life for all people. I thank all of you for helping make possible our shared mission.

Julio Frenk
Dean of the Faculty and T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development,
Harvard School of Public Health