Harold D. Cox, MSSW

Associate Professor, Community Health Sciences - Boston University School of Public Health


Harold Cox is an Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health. Trained as a social worker, he has extensive experience in direct services, administration, and advocacy in a variety of public health care settings, including developmental disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and governmental public health.

Professor Cox is the former Associate Dean of Practice, and teaches three courses: “Public Health Response to Emergencies”, “Cases in Public Health Management”, and "Leadership and Management" core course. Previously, Cox managed the MPH practicum program, and co-directed the MPH/MSW program. He served as PI and program facilitator for emergency preparedness initiatives, and governmental training program.

Professor Cox is an appointee to the Massachusetts Public Health Council and sits on the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Cross Jurisdictional Sharing Advisory Committee. He is the past president of Massachusetts Public Health Association, past president of the Multicultural AIDS Coalition, past chair of the Boston AIDS Planning Council, a past board member of the Boston Public Health Commission, and former member of DentaQuest Oral Health Foundation.

Professor Cox is a recipient of numerous awards, including the American Public Health Association's Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize for Creative Local Public Health, the Rebecca Lee Award for outstanding commitment to public health from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Hilliard award for outstanding achievement from Massachusetts Health Officers Association. He received the Paul Revere Award for outstanding public health service from the Massachusetts Public Health Association.

Prior to joining Boston University, Harold Cox served for 10 years as chief public health officer for the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was responsible for managing all aspects of the city's health department. During his tenure, Professor Cox led the process to make Cambridge a non-smoking city. He helped to organize Clean Air Works, a regional initiative in 19 Massachusetts towns to promote smoke-free work environments. This initiative was instrumental in moving Massachusetts to become the 3rd smoke-free state in the country. He worked with the Cambridge Kid’s Council and Agenda for Children to develop programs addressing literacy and out-of-school-time. He developed a regional public health consortium to coordinate emergency preparedness and disaster response. He also started the Cambridge Advanced Practice Center for Emergency Preparedness, which developed policies and program implementation for 27 communities surrounding Cambridge. Professor Cox also worked as Director of Client Services for the AIDS Action Committee, and in various capacities serving individuals and families with intellectual deficits.


  • University of Texas at Austin, MSSW Field of Study: Social Work
  • University of North Texas, BA Field of Study: Psychology



  • Published on 12/1/2017

    Browne T, Keefe RH, Ruth BJ, Cox H, Maramaldi P, Rishel C, Rountree M, Zlotnik J, Marshall J. Advancing Social Work Education for Health Impact. Am J Public Health. 2017 Dec; 107(S3):S229-S235. PMID: 29236540.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2013

    Stoto, Michael A.; Cox, Harold; Higdon, Melissa; Dunnell, Kerry; and Goldmann, Donald . Using Learning Collaboratives to Improve Public Health Emergency Preparedness Systems. Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research. 2013; 2(3).

  • Published on 11/1/2012

    Hyde J, Arsenault L, Waggett J, Mills B, Cox H, MacVarish K, Fried L. Structural and organizational characteristics associated with performance of essential public health services in small jurisdictions: findings from a statewide study in Massachusetts. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2012 Nov; 18(6):585-94. PMID: 23023284.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2012

    Hyde, J, Cox, H, MacVarish K, Wilkinson G. Massachusetts Public Health Practice-Based Research Network: Generating evidence to improve the equitable delivery of public health services across the Commonwealth. Leadership in Public Health. 2012; (Winter).

  • Published on 1/1/2008

    Koh, Howard; Shei, Amie; Judge, Christine; Elqura, Loris; Cox, Harold; Nick, Gilbert; Burstein,Jonathon; Condon, Suzanne. Emergency Preparedness as a Catalyst for Regionalizing Local Public Health: The Massachusetts Case Study. Public Health Reports. 2008; 123(July).

  • Published on 1/1/1988

    Wells. A.I., Agosta, J.M. Berliner, S., Cox, H, Bedford, S. . Supporting Pennsylvania Families: Strengthening the Pennsylvania family support system. Cambridge, MA Human Services Research Institute. 1988.

News & In the Media