Harvard Medical School
The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine is a preclinical department of Harvard Medical School. It is one of three social science departments at HMS. It incorporates the Division of Medical Ethics and collaborates with the Harvard University Program in Ethics and Health.
Global Health Delivery Partnership
Translating Knowledge into Effective, Equitably Distributed Health
Who We Are
Unified under the leadership of Dr. Paul Farmer, the Global Health Delivery Partnership (GHDP) is the new name for a long-standing collaboration between Harvard Medical School (HMS), the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and Partners In Health (PIH), an international health organization. In the field of global health, this collaboration—among a medical school, a teaching hospital, and a leading non-profit organization—is unique. We translate knowledge, generated in academic medical centers and in settings of poverty, and transfer skills and resources in order to improve delivery of effective, equitably distributed health care. GHDP is funded with donations to HMS, BWH, and PIH. We are currently raising funds to support our work.
Our Patients are the World’s Poor and Sick
We are committed to improving health throughout the world, and particularly for the poor and marginalized. We will do so by improving access to high quality care for the destitute sick and improving the capacity of providers to deliver good care to these patients. Modern medicine has the tools to treat all manners and conditions of illness, but millions of people still die preventable deaths each year. GHDP works to improve access and quality of health care for people living in poverty by building local capacity to deliver care, performing research to study and document best practices in global health delivery, training the next generation of global health practitioners in the U.S. and abroad, and diffusing new learning.
Four Essential Elements of Global Health Delivery
Delivering High Quality Health Care. GHDP supports the direct provision of health care in some of the poorest and most remote places on earth. However, excellent care is not enough. We also work with communities to understand the root causes of disease, such as lack of potable water, food, housing, education, and economic opportunity, and partner with local governments, institutions, and organizations to overcome them.
Building Local Capacity and Strengthening Health Systems. To improve the health of the destitute sick, the world needs more well-trained health professionals and stronger public health systems. GHDP’s efforts are rooted in a philosophy of accompaniment, a commitment to work side by side with those delivering and those receiving care. We build local capacity to deliver health care by supporting local organizations and hiring and training people who live in those communities.
Transforming Medical Education. With Partners In Health as our global teaching hospital, GHDP works to link medical education and training at Harvard and its teaching hospitals to medical education, training, and capacity building in partner countries. We teach courses focused on global health delivery and effectiveness in universities and academic medical centers in the U.S. and overseas, and we support residency training programs and fellowships that seek to complement the best medical and clinical education in the world with first-hand experience of the difficulties of delivering high quality care to the poor. We aim to teach medical students and clinicians about the pragmatic, medical and social complexity of providing health care to the poor – not only how to diagnose and treat disease, but how to address the systematic challenges of doing so in the context of a country’s political, economic and health situation.
Documenting our Work and Diffusing Lessons Learned. We are committed to rigorously evaluating our work and using what we learn to improve the quality of care. By disseminating what we learn through scholarly publications and other channels, we will document what we have learned about how health care delivery can be improved. We hope, thereby, to add to a growing body of knowledge in the global health discipline, contribute to the creation of a community of professionals who adhere to the same principals and standards, and share in the creation of innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions to health challenges that others have deemed intractable.
Global Health Delivery Project
The Global Health Delivery Project is dedicated to improving the health of populations by creating and sharing a comprehensive knowledge base on effective design and implementation of health care programs and systems in resource-poor settings worldwide. Read the GHD blog or join an online community for global health implementers at the GHD web site.
Global Health and Social Medicine faculty teach courses and are otherwise engaged with faculty at Harvard College. Educational programs in medical anthropology are based in the Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Our faculty also teach courses in the Department of the History of Science as well as other departments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Please visit our Education/Courses page for more information.
Several members of HMS Global Health and Social Medicine are on the steering committee of the Harvard Global Health Institute. HGHI is an interfaculty initiative of the Harvard Provost's office. It seeks to create a new generation of leaders, and develop new and innovative solutions to the vital problems of global health. This university-wide effort will bridge the gap from basic to applied life sciences, including social, economic, political and ethical issues that influence global health. Current boundaries between disciplines, sectors, institutions and geographic locations must be crossed to enable a meaningful response to these grand challenges.