Center for Surgery and Public Health

About Us

Our Story

Surgery is a central and essential tool in the preservation of human life, yet surgical care is surprisingly understudied. There is remarkably little information about the adequacy of surgical resources for meeting the needs of our aging population, the quality of surgical care and how to improve it, who has access to needed operations and who does not, or how to improve that access both at home and abroad. As one of the most documented interactions in medicine, surgical care remains a potentially powerful source of information for examining fundamental questions about the delivery of modern health care and the improvement of public health.

Michael J. Zinner, MD, past Mosely Professor of Surgery, Surgeon-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, envisioned a research center at the intersection of surgery and public health that could provide direction for patients, physicians, and policymakers, and improve quality and access to care for all. In 2005, he established the CSPH as a joint initiative of Brigham and Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical School and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

Since that time, the CSPH has been at the forefront of public health research of surgical care delivery within and throughout our nation’s healthcare system. Utilizing innovative research methodologies grounded in clinical reality, we have developed surgical safety checklists, created a national agenda for surgical disparities research, and launched the pioneering work of rising stars in surgical health services research. We are advancing the science of surgical care delivery by studying effectiveness, quality, equity, and value at the population level and training the most gifted of a new generation of physician-scientists. Together our efforts are making surgery safer, more patient-centered and more accessible in the U.S. and around the world.

Our Vision

Everyone will have access to high-quality, equitable,  and person-centered surgical care. 

Our Mission

To advance high-quality, equitable, and person-centered surgical care in the U.S. and worldwide through impactful research that transforms surgical practice and develops leaders in surgical health services research. 

Making surgery safe effective accessible affordable for all

Our Values

CSPH’s Values define how we treat each other and are vital to both upholding our Mission and accomplishing our Vision. The VITALS of CSPH are to:


all voices in the work of improving surgical care


for both patients and each other through inspiration and encouragement


in future generations of surgical researchers


with integrity in the conduct and execution of our science and advocacy efforts


each other with equal respect and dignity


to foster a collaborative and supportive environment