Harvey V. Fineberg
Emeritus Faculty

Harvey V. Fineberg

Professor of Health Policy and Management, Emeritus

Health Policy and Management




Dr. Fineberg's research has focused on several areas of health policy, including the process of policy development and implementation, assessment of medical technology, and dissemination of medical innovations. He has examined, among other subjects, the controversial federal immunization program against swine flu, the adverse effects of pertussis and rubella vaccines, the cost-effectiveness of cardiac care, and the reform of medical education.

Many of Dr. Fineberg's research interests relate to the processes of decision making in medical care, public health practice, and health policy. He has recently been involved in a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of BCG, a vaccine to prevent tuberculosis. With colleagues, he is pursuing an analysis of policy options in dealing with the HIV epidemic and tuberculosis prevention and control. He has had special interest in the evaluation of diagnostic and screening tests, ranging from use of equipment (such as CT and MRI) to serologic tests for a variety of conditions.

Dr. Fineberg has contributed to understanding of the ethical and social implications of new medical technologies. Rapid advances in technical capacities often outpace individual and collective capacity for judgment about the use of technology. New advances in genetics, for example, raise questions about the integrity and identity of persons and introduce opportunities for wrongful discrimination and other adverse consequences. Societies need more appropriate mechanisms to cope with such ethical dilemmas.

With colleagues, Dr. Fineberg recently completed a review paper on changing public health training needs and has written a book on medical education reform in North America. The purpose of this text is to provide understanding and perspective on reform efforts by placing them in their historical context, revealing the concepts and assumptions underlying change, assessing forces within and outside of medicine that are driving reform, and judging the pace and consequences of the reform movement. These projects yield a series of insights and conclusions that can be used by educators and policy makers as they embark on educational innovation.

Dr. Fineberg was dean of the faculty of public health from 1984 through 1997.


Harvard AIDS Initiative: The Movie

November 2013 -- What starts as a story of death and ignorance becomes a chronicle of discovery and success. To mark its 25th anniversary, the Harvard AIDS Initiative created a short video outlining major accomplishments and the work…

Harvard School of Public Health Dean Harvey Fineberg

October 2011 -- As part of the History of the School project, three former Deans of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) discuss their experiences at the School, including their contributions, challenges, and successes, as well as…

AIDS at 30: Hard lessons and hope

[ Spring/Summer 2011 ] Thirty years after the first official reports about HIV/AIDS, we look back on the human devastation and forward to a changed social landscape. The infection has killed more people so far than has any…