The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences supports nine diverse research centers each led by a primary SBS faculty(s).
Center on the Developing Child
The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University was established in 2006 by Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D. The founding mission was to generate, translate, and apply scientific knowledge that would close the gap between what we know and what we do to improve the lives of children facing adversity.
Initially, the Center used existing knowledge about early childhood development to educate policymakers and build support for early investment. Over time, the Center increasingly turned to science as a source of new ideas for dramatically improving child outcomes. The Center now views existing best practices as a starting point, not a destination. The current mission is to drive science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity.
Center for Health Communications
The Center for Health Communications was founded in 1985 by Jay A. Winsten. It was the first such health communication program at an academic institution.
Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health Communication equips public health leaders to credibly communicate health information to an increasingly skeptical and fragmented world.
Center for Global Tobacco Control
The Center for Global Tobacco Control aims to foster collaboration—at Harvard and globally—to address issues of tobacco use and control through innovative research, training, and translation of science into public health policies and programs. Established in July 2010, the Center replaced the former Tobacco Control Research Program in the Division of Public Health Practice.
Since 2004, the Center has brought together a highly-trained research staff to advance a robust agenda of funded research projects in tobacco control. Dr. Vaughan Rees took over leadership of the Center in 2014 and has positioned the Center to play a critical role in evaluating current tobacco control interventions and developing new interventions for the 21st Century.
Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies
The Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies’ mission is to improve well-being around the world by better understanding the interaction of demographic changes with social and economic development. The Center’s goal is to produce population-based evidence that will better inform policies needed to create healthy and resilient societies.
Under the leadership of Dr. Lisa Berkman, the Center strives to conduct research, dissemination and public engagement that will enable societies to be more responsive to demographic transitions in terms of policies and culture change. To that end, in broad strokes, the center’s areas of primary interest are social & environmental determinants of population health, aging societies, workplace & well-being, and social & family demography.
Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity
The Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity (ISCCCE) is one of seven Implementation Science Centers for Cancer Control (ISC3) funded by the National Cancer Institute Moonshot Initiative. ISCCCE aims to develop sustainable strategies for ensuring that all patients have access to evidence-based cancer prevention and control. The Center is led by Karen Emmons.
India Research Center
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health India Research Center, an office of Harvard Global Research Support Centre India, opened in December 2015, through a generous gift from Dr. Swati Piramal, a 1992 graduate of the Harvard Chan School, and Mr. Ajay Piramal, a graduate of Harvard Business School. Led by Dr. Kasisomayajula “Vish” Viswanath, the Center is designed to facilitate the development of new strategic relationships and build upon existing ones with organizations across India. The Center provides logistical support for its strategic goals of research, teaching, and knowledge translation and communication already underway by the School’s faculty and students and their collaborators in India. Equally important, it offers opportunities to expand those activities and create new projects in the future.
Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness
The mission of the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness is to build a rigorous and interdisciplinary science of positive health and well-being, and translate the science to influence practice and policy. The Center aims to achieve this through knowledge production, capacity building, and translation & communication.
Under the leadership of Drs. Laura Kubzansky and Kasisomayajula “Vish” Viswanath, the Center’s scope spans multiple disciplines—including health communications, psychology, nutrition, exercise physiology, basic biology, epidemiology, and population sciences.
Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity
The mission of the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is to work with communities, community agencies, state and local government, and other partners to develop, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of methodologies and interventions to improve nutrition and physical activity and reduce obesity and chronic disease risk among children, youth, and their families and to translate and disseminate this work at community, state and national levels to reduce and eliminate disparities in these outcomes. The Center is led by Dr. Steven Gortmarker.
Social Policies for Health Equity Research Center
The research conducted at the SPHERE Center helps us to understand how policies that address social and economic factors—like poverty, education, and structural racism—influence racial and socioeconomic disparities in health. The Center is led by Dr. Rita Hamad.