Core Seminar Series at Harvard University Fosters Understanding of Other Disciplines

Health & Society Scholars

Synopsis of Work: In 2001, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars® program to build the field of population health by producing leaders who will change the questions asked, the methods used to analyze problems and the range of solutions offered to improve the health of all Americans.

Four very different disciplines—social epidemiology, public policy, history of science and neuroscience—work together in Harvard's Health & Society Scholars program.

Story Told: To avoid the frustration that often stymies transdisciplinary research, Harvard addresses the issue head on. "Our theory is that we need to talk about this directly in the seminars. It's the thing that stops transdisciplinary work from happening. We don't expect everybody to agree or have one language; we just expect them to understand and be respectful of each other," said Lisa F. Berkman, Ph.D., the Harvard program's co-director.