The vitality of our University depends on the health of our people.
Harvard is committed to enhancing the health, productivity, and quality of life of our community through the design and maintenance of the built environment and the development of cutting-edge well-being programs. VIEW OUR PLAN
What keeps us healthy? Several factors, including our behavior and our genes, determine whether we live in good health or not. Equally as important to our health are forces outside ourselves—the air we breathe, food we eat, water we drink, and places we live.
Harvard is committed to enhancing the personal well-being of our community through cutting-edge programs that promote and contribute to healthy, balanced lifestyles.
Harvard On The Move sponsors weekly walks and runs for both beginners and experienced runners. The program is a University-wide initiative that promotes physical and psychological wellness for students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as our neighbors in Cambridge and Boston. Harvard on the Move offers workshops and lectures highlighting relevant research and practical hands-on information.
At the Center for Wellness at Harvard University Health Services we take an integrative approach to the promotion of well-being and the restoration of balance, by attending to the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts in each of us. Our innovative programs, services, and initiatives are for everyone in the Harvard community, including students, faculty, staff, retirees, and university affiliates.
Utilize the Center for Wellness in your own progression toward wellness. Schedule a massage or acupuncture appointment , try one of our exercise, meditation or yoga classes or stop by for a chair massage.There are always new ways to participate in your own well-being.
Wellness Wednesdays on the Plaza
Join the University for Wellness Wednesdays: a series of free classes in meditation, yoga, Zumba, relaxation, Qigong and more. Offered at lunchtime and just after work, in coordination with the Harvard University Health Services Center for Wellness.
Student-Specific Health Resources
- The Harvard Happiness Challenge aims to show that happiness is a lifestyle. The Challenge is a collection of eight habits that research shows make most people happier, including sleep, altruism, good eats, and the like. The challenge is simply to try each habit for one week. Chances are, it'll make you feel awesome. This student group launched at Harvard two years ago with a mission to get happiness off the back burner. As of 2013, the group is joined by MIT, Yale, UCLA, and Wellesley.
- Meditation and Mindfulness Resources for Harvard Law Students
- Harvard Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors (DAPA) is a group of student advisors that serve both as health opinion leaders and resources to their peers. DAPAs are trained to provide accurate information and respond to questions regarding drug and alcohol use. While we come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, we are united in our goal to make Harvard as fun and safe of a campus as possible.
- Student Mental Health Liaisons (SMHL) was founded in 2008 by the UHS Department of Behavioral Health and Academic Counseling (BHAC) and students to reach students in a non-threatening environment, engage them in the ongoing effort to promote a community that attends to the emotional wellbeing of students, and to provide factual information oriented to and delivered by students.
- Harvard University Health Services Office of Alcohol & Other Drug Services (AODS) is a multidimensional resource for students - and for faculty, staff, and members of the larger Harvard University community who may have concerns about students - offering a wide range of programs and services aimed at reducing the negative consequences associated with heavy, episodic drinking and substance abuse through prevention, education, intervention, policy development and coordination with treatment providers. AODS collaborates with students and staff throughout the University to create a comprehensive substance abuse prevention program focused on the health and safety of Harvard students.
- Harvard University Health Services Student Mental Health Resources provides assessment, treatment, education, and consultation to support the well being and functioning of Harvard students. Our staff is trained and experienced in dealing with issues specific to university students. We encourage you to schedule an appointment to discuss personal concerns and develop new ways of resolving issues. No concern is too small.
Employee-Specific Health Resources
Managing stress effectively and maintaining psychological resilience are key components of a balanced life. As a Harvard faculty or staff member you have access to a variety of health and wellness resources that can help you stay positive and healthy year-round.
Mindfulness at Work is an initiative that grew out of Executive Vice President Katie Lapp’s ongoing commitment to providing employees with new tools to manage stress and increase personal resilience. The programs and courses that comprise Mindfulness at Work are for central administration staff, but are part of the University-wide initiative, Healthy Harvard, which is designed to support the well-being of staff and faculty across the many dimensions of their lives. Mindfulness at Work is a free course, held on campus and during work hours, that teaches the fundamentals of mindfulness practice with an emphasis on meditation.
Chemicals of concern
Another way Harvard is working to improve and protect the health of its community is by making smart, informed decisions about the design and maintenance of our built environment.
By identifying and reducing chemicals of concern on campus we are helping to eliminate potential health risks to our vulnerable populations and contributing to the well-being of our community.
Our University-wide Green Building Standards were updated in 2014 to include healthy material requirements for the disclosure of health and environmental impacts of products that are used on campus in order to help us assess opportunities to understand the community’s exposure to potential toxins.
Tobacco and Smoke-Free Campus
As part of Harvard's ongoing effort to enhance the health and well-being of the Harvard community, many campuses and locations at Harvard have been designated smoke or tobacco-free areas stemming from the decades of research on the negative health impacts of smoking, second hand smoke, and tobacco use.
List of campuses and locations
- Harvard Yard (tobacco free)
- Harvard Divinity School (tobacco free)
- Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (tobacco free)
- Faculty of Arts and Sciences North Yard (tobacco free)
- Entire Harvard University Housing apartment portfolio
- Harvard Kennedy School
- Harvard Law School (tobacco free)
- Harvard Medical School
- Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
- Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Harvard School of Public Health
We're committed to promoting smart, healthy food choices and supporting locally grown food and products.
Harvard is developing Sustainable and Healthful Food Standards and aims to achieve University-wide compliance by 2020. The University supports two on-campus Farmers' Markets as well as four community gardens.
Many research centers, student groups, and programs are operating across campus to study and address the food system, nutrition, food law, policy, and innovation.
Nutrition experts at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health created the Healthy Eating Plate, which addresses deficiencies in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s MyPlate and provides detailed guidance, in a simple format, to help people make the best eating choices.