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Department of Population Medicine (DPM) at
Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care 

401 Park Drive, Suite 401E
Boston, MA 02215


The Department's core mission is to improve the health of individuals through research and teaching focused on patient populations and the health systems affecting their care. Department faculty are national leaders in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge and skills essential to maximizing the health of defined populations within available resources.

The Department of Population Medicine leads research that helps provide information to people at all levels of our health care system, from government health officials to private citizens faced with day-to-day choices about how to maintain their own health. We inform policy makers who make decisions about insurance coverage, and individual clinicians and patients who need reliable evidence about what treatments and medications work best for specific conditions. Here at DPM we work to create a base of knowledge that will enrich both health care systems and the quality of medical education.

Areas of Focus include:

  • Promoting health through prevention

  • Improving the quality and value of medical care

  • Understanding and overcoming disparities in care

  • Using information technology to improve and protect health

  • Using rigorous study designs to create evidence and using evidence to build sound health policy

  • Creating national and global partnerships for health research

  • Training the next generation of clinical, research, and health system leaders


Our affiliations with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a large health plan with diverse enrollees across New England, and Harvard Medical School gives us a prime opportunity to study specific patient populations and integrate our findings into the health care setting and educational curriculum. We also work closely with large national health insurers, Atrius Health, and HCA Healthcare, a major US hospital network. DPM investigators frequently work with data from these sources and have leading expertise in creating rigorous study designs in “big data.” We have an international program that seeks to create better access to health care and medicines in developing countries.

DPM's faculty are involved in studies that examine and enhance the operation of health care settings to ensure that clinicians have access to the most up-to-date systems and data in their day-to-day practices. They study issues such as medication safety and effectiveness, chronic disease prevention, health insurance policy, nutrition, maternal and child health, health care disparities, uses of electronic medical record technology, and cancer screening and prevention.

In addition, DPM sponsors teaching programs for medical students and residents that provide training experiences in the types of settings where they will eventually practice. Our teaching programs instill both clinical skills and a sound knowledge of public and population health issues, including innovations in science and medicine, health care insurance systems, and disease prevention.

The Department of Population Medicine is located in the Landmark Center, within walking distance of the Longwood Medical Area, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and just down the street from Fenway Park.


A few examples from recent Fellows' research include:

  1. Opiate prescribing rates and complications in a national database

  2. Outcomes of lap banding vs. gastric bypass surgery

  3. Maternal fish intake, mercury, and offspring cognition

  4. Clinician predictors of ordering low-value care.

  5. Weight gain in pregnancy and risk of maternal hyperglycemia

  6. Stress and weight gain in midlife

  7. Body mass index and proximity to food establishments over 30 years in the Framingham Heart Study

  8. Impact of a price increase on sales of sugary soft drinks

  9. Computerized decision alert to reduce prescribing of heavily marketed medications

  10. Physician dissatisfaction, isolation, work-life stress and quality of care

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