Brief History

Harvard Chan’s Center for Health Communication was founded by Jay A. Winsten in 1985. It was the first center devoted to the study and practice of health communication to be established at an academic institution.

Under Winsten’s more than three decades of leadership, the CHC:

  • Mobilized the Hollywood creative community for its first-ever industry-wide campaign to advance a societal goal
  • Created the first mid-career fellowship program for journalists who cover public health and medicine
  • Offered courses and seminars on health communication
  • Convened researchers and practitioners to examine how strategic communication can influence public policy, social norms, and individual behavior
  • Tested strategies to harness the power of mass communication to advance the public’s health, leveraging broadcast TV, advertising placements, and other tactics to promote healthy behavior
  • Published recommendations for the design and conduct of local and national media campaigns to advance the public’s health

adapted from HSPH: CHC's History