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Special Project

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From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

When Public Health Means Business

Entered in Public Health

About this entry

Public health is crucial to every aspect of life. It impacts business, social and economic decisions. "When Public Health Means Business” was set out to create platform and dialogue between business and public health leaders. Through COVID-19, CEOs and business owners have realized that public health is an urgent responsibility and critical to population and economic health. Business can’t buy a way out of a public health crisis; they need the strategy and knowledge of public health experts to maintain business continuity. The primacy of public health is now more than ever integral to business decisions.


Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health intended to bridge the gap and integrate public health and business in an effort to optimize enterprise, stakeholders, and larger public health issues.


Why does this entry deserve to win?

To actualize the concept, the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health created “When Public Health Means Business.” This is a multi-part series that virtually convened luminaries from the realms of finance, industry, and health to map a new path forward and ensure a better, safer future for all.


When selecting the speakers, the team ensured that the speakers were the following:



To that end, the team built out four different dialogues throughout the summer with participants from a wide range of industries and expertise. See full program below.


Putting on the programs is only the first step. The team needed to ensure people attended and participated in the discussions, virtually of course. All of the events were cross promoted on Harvard’s The Forum page as well as through Facebook’s live streaming.


Session 1: June 3, 2020

Moderator: Meg Tirrell, Senior Health & Science Reporter, CNBC



Session 2: June 10, 2020

Moderator: Melissa Lee, Host, “Fast Money” & “Options Action”, CNBC



Session 3: June 17, 2020

Moderator: Ali Velshi, Host of “Velshi”, MSNBC




Session 4:  August 5, 2020




The dialogue series successfully achieved the project’s objective and goals:



The team effectively brought business leaders from various industries together with leading public health thinkers from the NIAID, FDA, and NEJM. The conversations about what public health can do when it means business were in-depth and often challenged the thinkers to expand beyond their typical scope of stakeholders.



Beyond the participants, the conversations were engaging to the outside audience.  To give numbers, the final installation of dialogue engaged a total of 32 million people across all platforms. A total of 1.262 million viewers tuned in to watch the conversation live, 4 million people watched through CNN’s TV, digital, and social platforms and 5.6 million followers saw it on the Harvard University Facebook page. Additionally, the concept was featured in Fortune, Is it time for your business to hire a chief public health officer?



A key measurement of success is the lasting impact of this program. Through “When Public Health means Business,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is developing a certificate program for business leaders. Business leaders will gain a deeper understanding of global public health and learn to lead their business with public health in mind.  


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Entry Credits