Diseases that still have no cure. A critical shortage of primary care practitioners. Health disparities at home and abroad. Questions about the most basic biological processes.
Harvard Medical School researchers, trainees, and students do not lack for potentially transformative ideas of ways to tackle these and other challenges in health care and basic biomedical science.
What is in ever-shrinking supply, however, is funding that can help turn their ideas into solutions.
On November 13, 2014, HMS launched a $750 million fund-raising campaign aimed at helping its research and education community fulfill the School’s mission to alleviate human suffering caused by disease.
“There isn’t a day that I don’t see a proposal on my desk that promises to illuminate our understanding of some fundamental process, or even to save lives,” said Jeffrey S. Flier, dean of the faculty of medicine at Harvard University and the Caroline Shields Walker Professor of Medicine, during the campaign launch event at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. That promise all too often goes unfulfilled, said Flier, because “it probably won’t get funded.”
“Even at Harvard,” he added, “this pulsing ecosystem of energized people able to educate, innovate, and discover, we cannot fund everything we should—and must. Through this campaign, we will use our most effective tools—education, discovery, service, and leadership—to address the greatest health care challenges of our time.”
The World Is Waiting: The Campaign for Harvard Medicine is part of the $6.5 billion Harvard Campaign, which launched in fall 2013.
“Tonight, what a privilege it is to glimpse the vast dimensions of medicine at Harvard,” said Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University and the Lincoln Professor of History, in her address to the attendees, “the physicians and the teachers and the discoverers, some 20,000 faculty and students and nearly 10,000 alumni whose new ideas stretch minds and change lives across the world every day.”
“Together we can stretch our minds with new ideas and improve human lives,” she added.
The campaign supports four priorities:
Education: Training the next generation of leaders in science and medicine by increasing student financial aid, enhancing learning environments, and expanding external education initiatives
Discovery: Illuminating the causes of disease and advancing lifesaving cures by increasing support for biomedical informatics, genetics, neuroscience, systems biology, and the Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science
Service: Building health equity and transforming health systems in the United States and around the world by expanding the work of global health, health care policy, and primary care
Leadership: Incubating innovation and change to improve human health through flexible funding that can be applied when and where it is needed most
The campaign is chaired by Joshua Boger, member of the HMS Board of Fellows and founder and former CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, along with honorary co-chairs Ellen Gordon, president of Tootsie Roll Industries, and Jack Connors, founding partner and chairman emeritus of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc.
The campaign will conclude in June 2018.
Image: Suzi Camarata