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Dr. Joseph Allen

Dr. Joseph Allen


Dr. Joseph G. Allen, DSc, MPH, CIH, is an assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-author of Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity. He began his career conducting forensic health investigations of sick buildings in several hundred buildings and continues to work across a diverse range of industries, including healthcare, biotechnology, education, finance, law, commercial office real estate, and manufacturing. 

At Harvard, Dr. Allen directs the Healthy Buildings program, where he created ‘the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building’. He is also a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Deputy Director of the Harvard Center for Education and Research on Occupational Health and Safety. With 9 Foundations, Inc., Dr. Allen is leading the effort to turn the research into implementable solutions for select clients.

Dr. Allen is an internationally-renowned expert on the topic of Healthy Buildings, and his work has been featured widely in the popular press, including the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, National Geographic, Time, NPR, Newsweek, Washington Post, New York Times, and Fortune. Dr. Allen’s research is widely published in academic journals and he serves as Associate Editor for the journals Indoor Air and the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Dr. Allen has been a leading voice in the response to COVID-19. He is an expert member of the Lancet Commission for COVID-19, and has been advising CEOs across major sectors of the economy: healthcare, academia, finance, media, manufacturing, courts, prisons, shelters, and the arts. He has also been translating the science to the business community and the general public, publishing more than 10 op-eds in leading newspapers translating science into actionable tips for the public (New York Times; Washington Post x5; USA Today x3; Financial Times; STAT News). Business focused articles include the Harvard Business Review (“What Makes and Office Building Healthy“), Forbes (“Who Guarantees that Your Workplace is Safe for Return?”), Harvard Business School (“Why COVID-19 Raises the Stakes for Healthy Buildings”), and Urban Land (“Tenants and Investors will be Looking for Healthy Buildings”).

Dr. Allen has been involved with infectious disease research and control strategies for over 12 years. He was the lead investigator for several Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in major U.S. hospitals, responsible for testing, assessing risk, and developing control strategies. He was the lead author on a report for the National Academies of Sciences Airport Cooperative Research Program titled, “Infectious Disease Mitigation in Airports and Airplanes.” He has published peer-reviewed papers on the influence of humidity on risk from influenza, upper respiratory illness in dormitories using university electronic medical health records, and modeling how building factors can reduce measles risk in schools. During COVID-19, he is the principal investigator of three large studies examining transmission risk in buildings.

He earned his Doctor of Science (DSc) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees from the Boston University School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology from Boston College.

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