About

HGHI logo over photo of Harvard campus

The Harvard Global Health Institute is committed to surfacing and addressing some of the most vexing challenges in human health. We believe that the solutions to these problems will draw from within and beyond the medicine and public health spheres to encompass design, law, policy, business, and other fields. We harness the unique breadth of excellence within Harvard and are a dedicated partner to organizations, governments, scholars, and committed citizens around the globe. We convene diverse perspectives, identify gaps, initiate novel research, design new learning opportunities and advise policy makers to advance health equity for all. Join us as we push forward on a more innovative, evidence-based, collaborative vision for global health. 

HGHI: Towards a more innovative, collaborative, evidence-based vision for global health   

The field of global health is at a crossroads. While great advances have been made, vexing problems persist. Breakthrough vaccines save many lives but vaccine hesitancy is on the rise globally. Highly effective HIV/AIDS treatments are broadly available, yet cultural factors such as stigma prevent many HIV patients from taking the medication. New research shows that simply introducing healthcare to underserved communities is not enough — low quality care actually does more harm than good. And we knew the next pandemic would arrive, yet many nations (regardless of their GDP) are woefully underprepared for it. At the same time, rising meta-issues such as climate change, urbanization, migration, and aging all increasingly impact the health of people and communities around the globe. 

At HGHI, we pioneer the next generation of global health research, education, and policy translation to help address persistent and new challenges in global health. We think that what has worked in the past will not be enough to create a better future; that we need to do better translating research into policy and scaling up; and that the crucial work of health workers, clinicians, and public health experts needs engagement and commitment from many other sectors to solve the multifaceted problems that stand in the way of sustainable health for people and the planet. 

To move forward, we need to move past defining health as merely the absence of disease. Health for all goes beyond clinics, medical solutions, and public health interventions to include culture, community, the environment, animal health, belief systems, government, law, economics, technology, housing, and other drivers of health

Global health also needs to be truly global: Differences within countries are often as significant as differences between countries. To enable a free flow of ideas and encourage learning and dissemination of best practices at a global level, we must move past the myth of the global north ‘helping’ the global south and become truly collaborative, recognizing that all countries contribute to the search for solutions, and all countries learn from each other.

To make progress, we believe it is essential to get much better at understanding how the complex forces affecting health outcomes worldwide interact, and that we have an obligation to build this understanding. We know that collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and often cross-country research can show us the way, and that early engagement of policy makers, practitioners, students, and the public is key. 

As a global leader in education and research, Harvard University has an important role to play in setting and executing the agenda for a healthier future for all. At HGHI, we harness the expertise of all of Harvard’s graduate schools, hospitals, and our partners around the world as we convene diverse perspectives, draw in new voices, initiate novel research, and drive innovation. 

We hope you will join us as we push forward on a more integrative, evidence-based, collaborative vision for global health.