In the news

The future is bright for collaborative public health solutions


There is a bright future for alliances between for-profit corporations and academic schools of public health. Mainly, because of three letters buzzing throughout corporate boardrooms: ESG, or environmental, social, and governance.

Corporate boards understand that mitigating risks and sustaining profits requires vigilant planning and consideration in connection to environmental and social risks that impact the functioning of the company and the communities in which critical markets function.

Faculty experts at schools of public health have decades of experience studying environmental and social risk factors that affect both the health and welfare of human populations, as well as corporations that depend on human production and consumption for their profits. These faculty have learned the painful lessons from pandemics, environmental disasters, and decades of social inequity, and are ready to share their expertise with corporate partners to generate effective public health solutions.

In the past, many relationships between corporations and schools of public health have been transactional in nature. A company would request a study to be done or a model estimated to understand the health impacts brought about by new life science products or service innovations. The focus has been on individual products or services but not necessarily on broader public health solutions that define the nature of market economies.

We see a future in which closer relationships develop between corporations and schools of public health to address fundamental strategic issues that broadly affect the markets in which companies operate. For example, how can structural changes be brought about to address health, economic, and political disparities and thereby increase participation of marginalized communities in market economies? What can be done to improve the health and wellbeing of employees who experience stress and trauma from housing insecurity, financial distress, inadequate healthcare, and exposure to violence? How can companies invest in ways that mitigate the impact of climate-related conditions such as extreme heat, wildfires, weather, or pollution on free markets?

The Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) is already ahead of this trend. This past April, BUSPH and idea hub launched a Center for Climate and Health with the largest concentration of academic experts in the world focused on mitigating the impacts of climate change on the health of human populations. Corporations partnering with BUSPH on this initiative will have early insight into programs and policies that can shift markets by mitigating substantial risk factors brought about by climate change.

In addition, we have developed an innovative approach to address stress and trauma with a collaboration of scholars across the school. Recognizing that stress and trauma are experienced on a spectrum, ranging from mild to incapacitating, these scholars are focusing efforts on preventive programs and services that help manage stress and trauma across this spectrum. Corporations partnering with BUSPH on this initiative will play a substantial role in changing health outcomes for their employees, families, and the communities in which they operate.

idea hub at Boston University School of Public Health has been instrumental in developing ambitious plans to fund these efforts. Our team is ready to speak with you about your specific ESG challenges and to match you with the right faculty experts to find solutions. Our scholars may have the right tonic to address systemic risks and barriers to growth facing your company. Take the next step, contact us to explore how you can partner with us. We look forward to learning more about your interests and desired impact.

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