The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine

The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine is an interdisciplinary basic social science department at Harvard Medical School. Our faculty of social scientists and physicians teach and conduct research in the social sciences and humanities relevant to health and illness, health care delivery, and the professional culture of medicine. We are concerned with historical, social, and cultural aspects of health care, poverty, and other adversities intimately interconnected with disease, as well as the ethical issues that arise in the practice of medicine today. Our teaching and research programs contribute to the education of undergraduates, medical students, graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, clinicians and policymakers. In collaboration with clinicians, researchers, and implementers at many institutions, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital and global health nonprofit organization Partners In Health, we have established the Global Health Delivery Partnership to promote a more effective transfer of the great array of services, knowledge, and other resources for prevention and treatment of disease to the many in need of this help, with particular emphasis on those living in resource-poor settings. Our collaborations with physicians and social scientists worldwide lead to research and interventions that promote better health.

The Department is one of 11 basic and social science departments at HMS and closely allied with the Center for Bioethics, the Center for the History of Medicine, and the Center for Primary Care.