Mission Statement

The mission of the Division on Addiction is to alleviate addiction-related social, medical, and economic burdens through research, education, training, and outreach.


The Division provides a message of compassion, tolerance, acceptance, and hope, which is reflected in every aspect of our activities. The Division’s research reflects a commitment to challenging stigma and misinformation about addiction. Division research stimulates and guides innovative teaching and training programs for a diverse set of learners. The Division provides a critical link between Harvard Medical School students, the clinical and research scientists at Harvard, other medical education communities, and the lay public. The Division offers encouragement, education, and training to a diverse group of learners, including health care providers and scientists studying addiction at Harvard and beyond.

Through its educational activities and outreach and resources, including continuing medical education, faculty development courses, research collaborations and fellowship training program, the Division provides a meaningful voice within the public health and medical communities. The Division also reaches a variety of communities through its public forums, public education activities, middle school science curriculum development, and student internship program.

The Division’s work includes groundbreaking psychiatric epidemiological research focusing on addictive behavior. Division faculty members have published a large portfolio of scholarly publications that are advancing how the world understands, discusses, and treats addiction. Most notably, Division researchers proposed the Syndrome Model of Addiction to help explain the trajectory of addictive behavior. This system of classification includes both (1) the risk factors and consequences common to all expressions of addiction, and (2) simultaneously accounts for the elements that distinguish various forms of addiction from one another. 

The Division is committed to Open Science principles and practices that maximize transparency by making key elements of the research process publicly available. Visitors can review the Division’s many publications in our online Library. In addition, visitors can use this library to see a variety of other resources, and educational and training materials.