Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Tsinghua Vanke School of Public Health to collaborate on educational, research initiatives

Michelle Williams_Margaret Chan
Harvard Chan School Dean Michelle Williams and Margaret Chan, dean of Tsinghua Vanke School of Public Health, meet virtually to sign collaboration agreement

Deans of the two schools also announce launch of international coalition of public health school deans to address global health challenges

For immediate release: December 1, 2021

Boston, MA – Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Vanke School of Public Health, Tsinghua University, today announced the launch of a collaboration on educational and research initiatives.

“I am thrilled to announce this alliance between two schools of public health embedded within world-class universities—one in Boston, one in Beijing—to build a healthier, more equitable and more sustainable world,” said Michelle A. Williams, dean of the faculty at Harvard Chan School.

“We have seen more clearly than ever over this past year that threats ranging from microscopic pathogens all the way up to planet-wide shifts in climate can leap borders and threaten the health of billions,” she added. “Only by working together can we develop—and then enact—a global health security agenda that predicts, prepares for, and responds to these threats.”

The collaboration was announced at an event hosted by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center. In addition to Williams, speakers included Margaret Chan, dean of Tsinghua Vanke School of Public Health; Alan Garber, provost, Harvard University; and Yang Bin, provost, Tsinghua University.

The initial areas of collaboration include:

Joint course: Vanke School of Public Health and Harvard Chan School will develop a course that gives students at both schools the opportunity to work together on a field-based community public health topic, in China or in the U.S.

Summer courses and short courses: Vanke SPH students will take courses at Harvard Chan School beginning in Summer 2022 and the schools may explore creating a summer certificate program for participating Vanke SPH students. In addition, Vanke SPH and Harvard Chan School may develop customized short courses that Vanke SPH students can attend.

Visiting scholars: One or two Vanke SPH researchers will spend time at Harvard Chan School each year with a goal of developing research partnerships.

Joint research opportunities: Faculty from both schools with common interests, including infectious diseases, climate change, and health sector reform, will work to identify areas for joint research.

New coalition of public health school leaders

In response to the global challenges presented by the pandemic, Dean Williams and Dean Chan have also jointly founded a Global Coalition of Deans of Schools of Public Health. The goals of the coalition are to:

  • Address the most pressing public health issues from a strategically strengthened position
  • Inspire geographically diverse collaborations to advance research and innovation
  • Collaborate on programs to educate the next generation of public health leaders
  • Foster close working relationships between member universities, government and industry, and other stakeholders

Williams and Chan plan to include public health school deans from across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia. The first meeting of the new coalition will convene in the coming weeks.

For more information:

Todd Datz

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Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people’s lives—not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at Harvard Chan School teach 1,000-plus full-time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses. Founded in 1913 as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, the School is recognized as America’s oldest professional training program in public health.