About the Initiative on Healing and Humanity

The Initiative on Healing and Humanity (IHH) is envisioned as a six-year multi-disciplinary initiative that will bring together faculty from Harvard’s schools and other local and international participants with the following three components:

  1. To reflect and intervene. The IHH will serve as an umbrella under which broad and open-ended questions regarding medicine and global health can be approached from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Every two years it will identify one key theme for critical investigation and reflection and then invite the most important innovators in global health and thought-leaders from across Harvard University and around the world for a sustained collaboration to consider it. Themes will touch on central problems of healing as a human endeavor. Themes currently under consideration include “Accountability,” “Caregiving,” “Trauma,” and “Equality.” Activities related to Component 1 will include: (a) a biennial workshop with participation by colleagues from around the world; and (b) biennial publication of a book-length edited volume featuring work by participants.
  2. To provoke and implement. Many important reflections on global health are still imbedded in the praxis of health care and have not yet been written down in a way that enables sharing of wisdom and best practices. The IHH will therefore support up to two practitioners each year who work in a field related to global health or social medicine, to pursue an empirically grounded, reflective study with direct relevance to health care delivery in their professional setting. These $10,000 IHH Praxis Fellowships will be awarded by the HMS Center for Global Health Delivery–Dubai to students in Master of Medical Sciences in Global Health Delivery program at the Harvard Medical School Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, upon the recommendation of an instructor. In addition to regular first-year coursework, IHH Praxis Fellows will participate in an IHH spring seminar taught by DGHSM faculty (elective for other MMSc students). In the second year they will return to their work settings to implement their proposals. As part of their obligation, fellows will contribute a description of the outcomes for submission to an anthropology, history, or human rights journal. Beginning in Y3, the tuition of IHH Praxis Fellows may be fully underwritten (subject to the availability of funding).
  3. To foster and teach. In collaboration with the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the IHH will sponsor development of a Core Curriculum on Healing and Humanity. The Core Curriculum will be a ‘toolbox’ of reflective work on social medicine and global health designed to help practitioners bring the insights of the social sciences and humanities to bear on health delivery. Activities related to Component 3 will include: (a) adaptation of materials from Component 1 for pedagogical use at Harvard and other medical schools (including MOOC development); (b) quarterly lectures by Harvard faculty and invited guests to be video-taped for participants in Dubai and other HMS sites; (c) a two-year post-doctoral fellowship whose recipient will be responsible for organizing workshops and publications and for conducting deep, primary-source driven historical research on the biennial theme chosen for Component 1; (d) Beginning in Y3, an annual colloquium at the Dubai Center aimed at developing and implementing a “Core Curriculum in Healing and Humanity” in settings worldwide, with participation by Asian, African, Latin American and Middle Eastern institutions of medical education.

It is envisioned that the IHH program will begin in 2017 with a focus on accountability in global health. This will include a workshop to be held in September 2017 at Harvard, as well as a book-length edited manuscript titled Privilege and Impunity.