Photograph by Susan Eggan


Pres. Faust calls global health one of her main priorities for Harvard;

8 min read

Appoints Prof. Sue J. Goldie faculty director of Harvard Institute for Global Health; Paul Farmer, David Cutler to join leadership team

Declaring the University’s efforts to
improve the state of global health knowledge, education, and capacity building to be one of her “very highest
priorities” as president of Harvard, Drew Faust today announced the
appointment of Sue J. Goldie, Roger Irving Lee Professor of Public Health and director of the Center for Health Decision
at the Harvard School of Public Health, as the director of the
Harvard Institute for Global Health (HIGH).

Faust also announced that the work
of HIGH is so integral to the long-term focus and goals of Harvard that the
organization that began its existence as an experimental faculty “initiative”
has been granted permanent institute status.

“I believe that this is truly a moment of special
possibility for global health, both in the world and here at Harvard,” said
Faust. “If we needed to be reminded of this, we have been this past year, first
with the global H1N1 pandemic, and then when the earthquake struck Haiti and we
saw the world come together.

“We need to engage and equip our students, who are
telling us in ever increasing numbers that they want to engage in the global
health effort,” Faust continued. “We need to support the very best researchers
and the work of our outstanding faculty, in fields stretching across the
spectrum of inquiry from immunology to epidemiology, health policy, history,
molecular biology, and philosophy. I have every confidence that Sue Goldie, who
has already demonstrated her outstanding scholarship, leadership, and
collaborative skills, is the person to lead this special effort.”

The appointment of
Goldie, a MacArthur Foundation “genius award” recipient, marks the end of a
yearlong, international search for a new director for HIGH. Goldie has been
involved with HIGH since 2007, and as co-director of the executive committee
worked to bring faculty from all parts of the University together, consistently
advocating on behalf of junior faculty interested in global health.

Because HIGH is
above all a collaborative organization dedicated to educating and training the
next generation of global health
leaders, Faust also appointed two faculty leaders to direct the
critically important educational and training efforts.

Paul Farmer, the Maude and Lillian
Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical
(HMS), will oversee global health medical education and physician
training. Farmer, who is also a MacArthur Fellowship winner, is chair of the Department of
Global Health and Social Medicine
at HMS, a professor in the Department of
Global Health and Population
at the Harvard School of Public Health,
Chief of the Division of
Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital,
and is
perhaps best known internationally as the co-founder of Partners In Health,
the global nonprofit health care delivery organization.

David Cutler, the Otto Eckstein
Professor of Applied Economics in Harvard’s Department of Economics and a
member of the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School, will direct undergraduate
and graduate programs in global health. Cutler, who worked on health care
reform in the Clinton administration and served as a health care adviser to the
Obama campaign, is a member of HIGH’s faculty executive committee, served as
HIGH’s interim director for the past year, and led the effort to create a secondary
concentration in global health at Harvard College.

Goldie said, “Strong leadership in
global health already resides in the faculty of the Medical School, School of
Public Health, and academic hospitals. As the faculty director for the Harvard
Institute for Global Health, I see myself principally as a coordinator,
facilitator, and collaborator. With a leadership team comprised of myself, Paul
Farmer, and David Cutler, I am confident we can create a University-wide community that is bound by a sense of shared

“Global health is an intellectual and practical
topic of tremendous interest to our undergraduate and graduate students,”
said Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and John
H. Finley Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Professors Goldie,
Farmer, and Cutler are exactly the kind of seasoned leaders we need for such an
important, University-wide institute. I am also thrilled that each brings
to the institute a deep commitment to Harvard’s extensive educational offerings
in global health.”

Harvard Provost Steven E. Hyman
said that granting institute status to HIGH and appointing Goldie “mark a very
significant step along what has been a 15-year journey toward a truly
collaborative and more interdisciplinary Harvard. Global health is an area in
which we already have world-class researchers, clinicians, teachers, and
students,” Hyman said. “By bringing them all together as parts of a coordinated
whole, without boundaries or silos, we expect to have far more impact than we
would expect from the already considerable sum of the many parts of our global
health effort.”

“It is my conviction
that for Harvard to remain a leader in the burgeoning
field of global health, we must invest heavily in linking service to training
and research,” Farmer said. “Since global health is not a discipline, but
rather a collection of problems, we need to draw on the strengths of the
medical school, the school of public health and the teaching hospitals—and
especially on the work of our partner sites—to help tackle the biggest
challenge of our time: understanding and improving delivery of services in this
country and in others. Global health is a new paradigm and very different from
its predecessor paradigm, international health. Boston is on the globe,
too,” Farmer noted.

Cutler said he sees HIGH
coordinating the teaching and training of students at all levels. “For
undergraduates, this means having courses for those who want to learn a little,
up to those who want to make global health their life’s focus,” he said. “It
also means providing students with the ability to interact with the world and
practice what they learn. For graduate students, this involves direct training
in global health issues, access to people and research sites, and integration
of the skills of many different disciplines. It will take a collaboration of
faculty all across Harvard to make this happen. I know the faculty are eager to
participate, and I look forward to helping organize them.”

The global health leadership
appointments were praised by both Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard School of
Public Health, and Jeffrey Flier, dean of Harvard Medical School.

Goldie, Paul Farmer, and David Cutler are uniquely qualified to lead HIGH to a
new stage of development,” Frenk said.  “The key to achieving successfully
the Institute’s mission will continue to be the ability to build bridges across
the amazing intellectual capital of the entire university. Professors Goldie,
Farmer, and Cutler have exceptional skills in team building and mentoring.
They are also deeply committed to the educational mission of HIGH, as
demonstrated by their crucial role in expanding the course offerings in global
health and by their own dedication to teaching.”

Flier said, “This is a signal
moment in our effort to bring together under a single banner the disparate
parts of a world-class program in global health. I have no doubt that Sue
Goldie, Paul Farmer, and David Cutler have the vision, collaborative instincts,
and determination to bring people together in this common cause, and that
together they will create a truly collaborative, interdisciplinary program that
will benefit not only all the world’s peoples, but also will benefit Harvard as
a university.”

Trained as a physician, decision scientist, and public health
researcher, Goldie has broad interests that include using evidence-based policy
to narrow the gap between rich and poor, leveraging science and technology as
tools for global diplomacy, strengthening capacity through sustainable
non-exploitative partnerships, and fostering innovation in education locally and
globally. Drawn to health problems in the most
vulnerable populations, she conducts rigorous analysis using the
methods and tools of decision science, which uses mathematics to solve resource
problems, to inform complex and difficult policy decisions. Her analytic work relates to a
wide range of topics — from vaccine-preventable diseases to maternal mortality
— in many settings, from disparities in the United States to broad failures of
public health delivery in the poorest countries.

An accomplished
scientist, Goldie has published 150 original research papers and has
been principal investigator on awards from the National Institutes of Health, the
Centers for Disease Control, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Doris
Duke Foundation
, and the MacArthur Foundation, which
in 2005
awarded her its grant “for genius and creativity” in applying the tools of
decision science to combat major public health problems.

She has received numerous teaching
and mentorship awards, including the Harvard School of Public Health mentoring
award and the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard
University. She serves on the Standing
Committee on Health Policy, teaches one of the largest classes at the
School of Public Health in decision science, and this year also taught a new
undergraduate class as part of the Gen Ed curriculum.

A member of the Institute of
Medicine, Goldie is a graduate of
Union College and Albany Medical College. She completed her internship and
residency in internal medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale University
School of Medicine
, and earned her M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public
Health in 1997. She joined the faculty of the School of Public Health in 1998.