Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summit on Public Health


Tackling Public Health Challenges to Address Inequities and Climate Realities

Session 2: Dates coming soon! Tuition: Coming soon!  Location: Harvard Chan C-CHANGE, Boston, MA

Dive into issues of public health alongside peers, educators, and leading professionals from the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE) on this high school summer program. Choose an Action Focus based on your interests and explore how public health is intertwined with racial and social justice, economics, and climate change. Gain perspective from scientists, world leaders, and politicians about the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges and opportunities for navigating global public health issues. Engage with themes such as climate, pandemics, public policy, and air and water quality over the course of the program and develop a capstone project to transform your ideas into action.

Summer 2022 dates and details coming soon! Call us for more info: 802.387.5000

This program was developed thanks to the support of Gina McCarthy, National Climate Adviser to the Biden/Harris Administration and former Director of Harvard Chan C-CHANGE and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.


Learn from experts at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as leading academics, policymakers, and scientists working in fields related to public health. Participate in workshops, attend lectures, and take advantage of all Boston has to offer.

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Guest Speakers

Gain inspiration from the experiences and perspectives of political and industry leaders, including the Director of Harvard Chan C-CHANGE.

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Capstone Project

Develop a capstone project based on your interests and round out the program with a presentation to your peers, sharing your vision for practical action to make change in your community.

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“I am excited to be a part of a program at Harvard that will help give students the tools to tackle both the biggest challenge and opportunity of any generation born to this earth so far.”

— Harvard Senior fellow Governor Peter Shumlin

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The Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summit on Public Health brings together motivated and like-minded young people to learn from and be inspired by community leaders, scientists, healthcare providers, and each other.

Action Focus

Each student chooses an Action Focus based on their interests—Community Health, Environmental Health, Epidemiology & Infectious Disease, Global Health, or Policy. This Action Focus acts as the lens through which students view the challenges and opportunities of public health. Each day, Action Focus groups and instructors meet to delve into the complex systems within their Focus, discuss and brainstorm how to address challenges, and prepare capstone projects.

Program Location

Daily workshops, Action Focus meetings, and guest speaker events take place at academic buildings in Boston, Massachusetts. Offsite and field-based learning activities balance classroom and workshop time.

Residence & Accommodations

Students and residential instructors reside at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, just a short walk away from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. Rooms are doubles and assigned by age; genders are separated by floor; and staff reside on the same floors as students. Residence Halls have 24-hr front desk security, high-speed wifi, air conditioning, and on-site laundry facilities.

Activities & Excursions

Outside of thematic program activities, students take advantage of all the culture, history, and cuisine that Boston and Harvard have to offer, including visits to the Boston Common, the North End, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and Harvard Yard. Stroll the streets of Harvard Square, kayak the Charles River, or play frisbee on the quad.


Join a community of high school students and instructors with diverse interests and a shared passion for public health. This vibrant and dynamic community of motivated individuals comprises students from across the U.S. and around the world.

Inspiring Leaders

Students gain important context for our health challenges from guest lecturers and workshop leaders, as well as inspiration for ways forward. Residential program instructors also lead smaller Action Focus teams in discussions, hands-on activities, and field trips, while serving as mentors and helping students shape their capstone project presentations.

Your Action Focus

When applying to the Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summit on Public Health, you will choose a particular Action Focus based on your interests and personal goals for the future—Global Health, Community Health, Environmental Health, Epidemiology and Infectious Disease, or Policy. This Focus is the angle from which you will approach public health over the course of the weeklong program, along with peers who have chosen your same track. The entire Public Health Summit community comes together for guest lectures and many activities, but part of each day is dedicated to working closely with your Action Focus peers and instructors as you build toward your capstone presentation.

Global Health

How can we address public health issues and pandemics such as COVID-19 on a global scale? In what ways is public policy involved in these decisions? How do economics, the environment, and cultural realities factor in? Delve into these questions and more as you engage with public health across borders and populations. How do cultural differences influence a nation’s response to public health challenges? What political or social characteristics enable a population to seize opportunities for success? Consider economic disparities between countries and how lack of access to quality healthcare impacts global health, and develop a framework for understanding not only our global health challenges, but also how we might overcome them.

Community Health

How can educational and community-based programs encourage and enhance health and wellness? Explore the web of issues entangled with public health at the community level. What are the intersections of public health with food access, nutrition, stable housing, mental health, substance abuse, and environmental factors like air quality? What community-led initiatives address these issues and how do you build a successful community health campaign? From policymaking to organizing to effective campaign messaging, get hands-on experience identifying the issues and the numerous channels for addressing them.

Environmental Health

How is public health connected to our environment? From air and water quality to climate change and toxins in our food supply, dig into the ways environmental factors can impact health at both the local and global levels. Investigate major factors, identify their causes, and develop a vision for how their effects might be mitigated. How could changes to agriculture improve public health? How are climate change and public health connected and what solutions could address both? What processes lead to certain communities or entire countries being disproportionately affected?

Epidemiology & Infectious Disease

What is the science behind diseases like COVID-19? How are diseases forming, spreading, or being controlled? What patterns are there in infectious disease outbreaks and how can we reduce risk and prevent future outbreaks? Immerse yourself in the most current understanding and cutting-edge science, from modeling to vaccines. Beyond the science itself, discuss the role of epidemiology in informing scientific, ethical, economic, and political discussions on health issues.


How can policy be a tool for public health? Delve into how the legislative and administrative policymaking processes work, then engage with specific examples of U.S. public health policies. From seat belt laws to clean water regulations, discuss which policies have been successful and which have fared less well, then find the common threads that contribute to success or failure. With an understanding of the current health issues the U.S. faces, develop ideas for how policy might be used to address them.

Program Structure

Each day features a combination of Action Focus seminars, hands-on activities, excursions, and guest speaker events with the entire program body. After breakfast, depending on the day, Action Focus learning may start in classrooms and meetings spaces on campus, or the students and instructors may travel to a nearby site for field-based learning. After lunch, Action Focus seminars continue. Afternoons and evenings offer opportunities to explore the cultural side of Boston, participate in sporting activities, or work on independent projects. After dinner, students and instructors from all Action Focus groups convene for guest speaker events and evening activities. On the final two days of the program, students focus on their final projects, which they present on the final evening.

Guest Speakers

Guest lecturers bring to the program diverse backgrounds with high-level, real-world experiences and insights. Each speaker structures their lecture to relate to the five Action Focuses and their area of expertise. For example, an expert in air quality and pulmonary disease might discuss how air quality is directly linked to climate change and how communities of color in urban areas are the most affected by pollution and a lack of access to good healthcare. They might expand on how health issues stemming from poor environmental health can be addressed in a local community, on a global scale, or through policy changes which will have a direct impact on the future spread of infectious disease.

View full speaker bios

Michelle A. Williams, MS, ScD

Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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Gaurab Basu MD, MPH

Primary Care Physician and Co-Director of the Center for Health Equity Education and Advocacy at Cambridge Health Alliance; Instructor, Harvard Medical School

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Aaron Bernstein MD, MPH

Interim Director, Harvard Chan C-CHANGE; Pediatric Hospitalist, Boston Children’s Hospital; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School

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Marcia Castro MA, PhD

Andelot Professor of Demography Global Health and Population; Chair, Department of Global Health and Population Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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Francesca Dominici, PhD

Clarence James Gamble Professor of Biostatistics, Population and Data Science, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Co-Director of the Data Science Initiative

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Howard Frumkin MD, DrPH, MPH

Former Director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the CDC; Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington

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Howard Koh MD, MPH

Former Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership, Harvard Chan School and Harvard Kennedy School

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Natalia Linos MSc, ScD

Executive Director, FXB Center for Health & Human Rights at Harvard University

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Nadia Nazar

Founder, Co-Executive Director, & Art Director, Zero Hour

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Jeff Nesbit

Director, Climate Nexus

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Renee N. Salas MD, MPH, MS

Yerby Fellow, Harvard Chan C-CHANGE; Affiliated Faculty, Harvard Global Health Institute; Emergency Medical Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

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Governor Peter Shumlin

81st Governor of Vermont; Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Co-Director, Putney Student Travel

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Secretary Kathleen A. Theoharides

Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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The Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summit on Public Health is designed to educate, empower, and prepare students to take leadership roles in the field of public health. Students who attend the program will:

Students who attend the program will:
Attain critical public health content knowledge.
Develop an action plan that can be implemented in their schools, communities, or life paths.
Grow a network of peers and public health leaders to continue the work started at the summit.

Students receive, upon presentation of their Capstone Project, a certificate of program completion, presented by former Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and endorsed by Harvard Chan C-CHANGE.


Scholarship opportunities are now available for the July 2021 Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Summits on Climate and Health. The scholarship provides full and partial need-based scholarships for underrepresented students and communities to empower the next generation of climate and public health leaders.

How to apply for a scholarship

To be considered for a scholarship, candidates must meet eligibility criteria and complete an application. For more information and to access summer 2021 application materials, please visit the Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Youth Scholarship opportunities page.

Peace of Mind Payment & Refund Policy

In light of uncertainty regarding travel during 2021, the $700 payment ($200 application fee and $500 tuition deposit) required to hold space on one of our programs this summer is 100% refundable for any reason until April 15, 2021.

If after April 15 you decide you aren’t comfortable traveling on your program, we will work with you to find a space on another program you’re excited about. If you don’t have a second choice program and decide not to travel, your payment is non-refundable.

To read our FAQs about COVID-19 and travel in 2021, click here.