Advanced Leadership Initiative examines role of business in public health

ALI Faculty Co-Chair Howard Koh. Photo by Russ Campbell

3 min read

Experts in public health, faculty from across Harvard, and leaders from the business world came together to examine the role that business can play in addressing public health issues at the Advanced Leadership Initiative’s (ALI) Health and the Role of Business Deep Dive.

ALI Faculty Co-Chairs Howard Koh and Meredith Rosenthal led the two-day conference that looked at the most pressing public health issues facing the country and the need for cross-sector solutions that involve the business community.

ALI’s Deep Dive Sessions highlight one major global or community challenge where its Fellows might fill a gap. Deep Dives include readings, outside experts, often faculty from relevant Harvard programs, and a focus on problem-solving and practical applications of research.

ALI Fellows also contribute ideas based on their experience and knowledge to find immediate solutions for these challenges.

About ALI

ALI is a third stage in higher education designed to prepare experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector where they potentially can make an even greater societal impact than they did in their careers.

This year, ALI welcomes its 10th cohort of Fellows, bringing extensive experience in law, medicine, technology, finance, manufacturing, government, social enterprise, and other sectors to the program.

The group includes 12 international Fellows, a former member of Congress, a former head of state, as well as former CEOs and C-suite executives from distinguished private sector and nonprofit organizations.

The Health and the Role of Business Deep Dive

The Health and the Role of Business Deep Dive included faculty presenters from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Business School, as well as private-sector leaders who prioritized public health in their operations.

Presenters on the first day of the Deep Dive shared the concept of a “culture of health,” and helped Fellows understand its four pillars: con­sumer health, community health, employee health, and environmental health. Fellows also saw real world examples of business practices that addressed these four pillars. At the close of the first day, Fellows had the opportunity to synthesize and reflect on the content of the previous sessions.

Fellows also attended an art showcase and reception on “Visualizing Health Equity.” The showcase brought the visual arts into the conversa­tion on public health.

Presenters on the second day of the Deep Dive gave fellows tools and frameworks to create systemic change. Fellows heard from business lead­ers taking action on public health issues and thought-leaders on best practices for addressing these issues.

At the close of the sec­ond day, Rosenthal commended the “productive tension” and skepticism of the Fellows. She also stressed the important connection between hope and leadership in addressing public health issues.

To learn more about the Deep Dive, read ALI’s complete Health and the Role of Business Deep Dive Report.