Spring 2024
GHP 243
March 23 - April 14
Saturday and Sunday, split schedule
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Conducting Negotiation on the Frontlines


For over a century, public health has provided a solid scientific framework to assess the causes and consequences of harmful policies and behaviors endangering the health of populations. Yet, in an increasingly divided world, public health professionals have been confronted with the growing politicization of health policy debates, including ongoing attempts to question or limit the influence of science in government policy making. These challenges have been particularly visible in crisis situations such as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic or the latest hurricanes affecting large numbers of people and communities. The same challenges have affected the design of public health programs towards vulnerable groups such as migrants, women and children in humanitarian situations across the world. To fulfill their role in these politicized environments, public health professionals must develop capabilities to lead constructive dialogues with a wide range of stakeholders while searching for realistic compromises on policy options. Such capabilities involve the ability of building trust in a tense public arena and mitigating adversarial relationships with actors opposed to the proposed policies. Engaging successfully with these counterpArts is becoming a critical skill in current and future public health crises. Through an experiential learning approach, the course will present a systematic methodology to engage in complex negotiations in a proactive, critical, and practical manner. Based on several years of empirical research on negotiation practices on the frontlines of conflict, health crises and natural disasters, it will offer practical tools to plan such negotiation as well as facilitate learning through the experience of seasoned practitioners working in these environments. Complementing existing courses on public policy and leadership, this course is designed for professionals planning to work in high-intensity environments such as pandemic, climate­-induced crisis, irregular migration, armed conflicts and other critical situations. Course Requirements: HSPH: PW Degree Students

Global Health and Population
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Course Level
Interest Area
Public Health & Medicine
Cross Registration