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 Hospital, Harvard 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.


Advance the science of surgery through research that informs policy and program development for safe, high quality, and equitable, patient-centered care in the U.S. and around the world.


Expand and Share Knowledge

Identify best practices in patient-centered surgical care delivery and mitigation of healthcare disparities.

Transform Practice

Demonstrate how implementation of best practices can deliver surgical care that is safe, patient-centered, effective, and equitable.

Build a Culture of Excellence

Enable faculty to achieve success by establishing an environment of empowerment, constant improvement, support, and accountability.

Train Future Leaders

Attract a diverse group of highly motivated and talented researchers and vigorously promote the education of tomorrow’s leaders in the science of surgical care delivery and health services.

Engage the Policy Community

Build partnerships at the local, regional, national, and international levels to achieve our vision. Establish the CSPH as a source of policy influence both nationally and internationally.