Harvard Chan School.

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Work & Economy

Harvard Chan School launches public health program for business leaders 

3 min read

The certificate program for business leaders aims to incorporate public health into corporate practices 

Spurred by the global disarray caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health today announced the launch of a new certificate program providing business leaders with the foundational tools of public health, enabling them to integrate the discipline in their corporate practices. Responding to the increasing demand from business leaders for public health acumen, the Public Health & Business Leadership (PHBL) Certificate will bridge the two worlds of public health and business. By arming business executives with the fundamentals of public health, business will be able to design and operate resilient organizations and forge a healthier world.

“COVID-19 clearly caught business leaders off-guard and there is a need for public health expertise within the business community, which has seen the impact of COVID-19 across their bottom lines, employee health, supply chains, and more. While public health was often siloed into human resources or government affairs departments, we are seeing firsthand that COVID-19 has pushed the public health discourse into the C-suite,” said Michelle Williams, dean of the faculty at Harvard Chan School. “This moment will usher in the ‘health-first’ era — an era defined by shifting expectations and demands around health equity and health promotion. This future is being determined by the decisions we make today, and we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to shape it together and advance health for all.”

Uniquely positioned to converge public health and business, the PHBL program leverages the university’s world-class faculty, including Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science and director of the Healthy Buildings Program, leading business and government partners, and faculty from the Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government.

Designed for mid- and senior-level business executives, the program provides expertise and new perspectives on public health leadership. Participants will come to understand the critical importance of positioning their organizations to respond effectively to public health risks, avoid unnecessary exposure to those risks, and support global health security for the good of the corporate enterprise, its employees, its partners, and the broader community.

Taught primarily using case-based learning, the certificate in PHBL includes four credit-bearing courses, as well as a practicum mentored by faculty and individually designed by each student. The curriculum will cover topics including principles of public health science, worker health and well-being, global health and health policy, and healthy buildings, sustainability and climate.

The program will begin in September 2021, with applications open now through April 15, 2021. Please visit the course page to apply to the PHBL Certificate Program and learn more.