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Improving Your Business Through a Culture of Health

Harvard University via edX

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While the United States is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, it is far from the healthiest. Our nation’s burden of disease affects businesses every day, from sick employees and families reducing productivity and increasing costs, to product recalls and failures, to environmental scandals such as toxic chemical emissions harming communities and reputations.

This HarvardX course, presented by leading faculty from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Business School, will provide businesses with strategies, tactics, and tools to gain a competitive advantage by implementing a Culture of Health to address these issues and stay ahead. Embracing a Culture of Health can improve your employees’ well-being as well as the health of your consumers, your communities, and the environment. A Culture of Health can help you to reduce costs, increase revenues and profits, and enhance your company’s reputation.

For example, employees who work in a healthy and safe environment spend less time away from work for health reasons, decreasing interruptions, while increasing output and employee retention. When employees and customers spend less on health care, they have more disposable income to spend on non–health care needs, boosting the economy, and benefiting your business.

Strengthening your business using the Culture of Health approach will enhance the greater good by promoting well-being—benefitting society, your business and employees, your customers and communities, and you.


Section 1: Introduction to the Culture of Health

Why should business care about good health? See how your business connects to health and well-being, and learn the Four Pillars framework. 

Lead Faculty: Howard Koh (HSPH, HKS) and Amy Edmondson (HBS)

Guest Faculty: John Quelch, Dean of the School of Business Administration and Vice Provost for Executive Education, University of Miami

Guest Speaker: Mike Critelli, Retired Chief Executive Officer, Pitney Bowes

Case Study: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines


Section 2: Pillar 1: Your Consumers’ Health

Why the health and well-being of your consumers and customers matter to the health and well-being of your business.

Lead Faculty: John McDonough (HSPH) and Jose Alvarez (HBS)

Guest Speaker: Troyen Brennan, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health

Case Study: H-E-B Creating a Movement to Reduce Obesity in Texas


Section 3: Pillar 2: Your Employees’ Health

Why the health, safety, and well-being of your employees is about a lot more than just dollars and cents.

Lead Faculty: Glorian Sorensen (HSPH) and Robert Huckman (HBS)

Guest Speakers:

Mike Critelli, Retired Chief Executive Officer, Pitney Bowes

Dave Lagerstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer, TURCK Inc.

Nico Pronk, President, HealthPartners Institute; Chief Science Officer, HealthPartners, Inc.

Paul Terry, President and Chief Executive Officer, Health Enhancement Research Organization


Section 4: Pillar 3: Your Community's Health

Why caring about the well-being of your host communities is vital for your business success.

Lead Faculty: Kasisomayajula Vishwanath (HSPH) and Raffaella Sadun (HBS)

Guest Speakers:

David Barash, Executive Director, Global Health Portfolio; Chief Medical Officer, GE Foundation

Lauren Smith, Managing Director, FSG

Jonathan Isaacson, President and Chief Operating Officer, Gemline, Inc.

Dan Rivera, Mayor of Lawrence, Massachusetts

Case Study: Business and Community Partnerships for Health in Lawrence, Massachusetts


Section 5: Pillar 4: Our Environment

How addressing your environmental footprint can make or break your business.

Lead Faculty: Gina McCarthy (HSPH) and Cass Sunstein (HLS, HKS)


Section 6: YOU

Does any of this involve Y-O-U? As a colleague, a spouse, a parent, a neighbor, and a leader? Y-E-S! 

Lead Faculty: Elizabeth Frates (HMS)  

Guest Speaker:

John Ratey, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Case Study: David Storto, Chief Executive Officer, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital


Section 7: Measuring Your Success

How can your business measure your results in leading for better health and well-being?

Lead Faculty: Eileen McNeely (HSPH) and George Serafeim (HBS)

Guest Faculty: Tyler VanderWeele, Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Case Study: Flourishing Index


Section 8: Leading for Change

Tools and examples of leading for improvement and change in your business. 

Lead Faculty: Sara Singer (Stanford University) and Rakesh Khurana (HBS, Harvard College)

Guest Speaker: Drew Faust, President, Harvard University

Case Study: PepsiCo


Section 9: Making It Happen

Practical ways to get started and to sustain progress in your business.

Lead Faculty: Howard Koh (HSPH, HKS) and Amy Edmondson (HBS)

Guest Faculty: Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business, Harvard Business School

Guest Speakers:

Byron Austin, Manager, Business for Social Responsibility

Martin Lemos, Associate, Business for Social Responsibility

Mark Tulay, Program Director, Strategic Investor Initiative, CECP

Taught by

Howard Koh, Amy Edmondson, John McDonough, Jose Alvarez, Glorian Sorensen, Robert Huckman, Kasisomayajula Viswanath, Raffaella Sadun, Gina McCarthy, Cass Sunstein, Elizabeth Frates, Eileen McNeely, George Serafeim, Sara Singer, Rakesh Khurana, John Quelch and Rosabeth Moss Kanter

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4.5 Based on 2 reviews

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5.0 3 months ago
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
Great course Havard University , as a faculty I feel the syllabus framed is excellent .After taking this course I shall continue with other courses.
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Sarefah K
4.0 2 months ago
Sarefah is taking this course right now, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Lean Management System is the demonstrated and accepted concept to improve continually the quality of health care services in the health system.The four principles of this system are the management of performance, asset, resourceand risk in the organization. These concept emphasizes the product and service

that fulfill the community needs with waste elimination through process and continuous quality improvement.
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