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Harmful physical and social environments — Our people

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Healthy diet and cancer risk: What do we know?

Studies have shown that diets rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and chicken—and low on sugar and red meat—can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. But evidence that healthy diets also reduce cancer risk remains less conclusive. Walter…

Student profile: Sandra Pirela SD '15

Q: Why did you choose Harvard School of Public Health? A: The decision to attend the Harvard School of Public Health was not a hard one. The state of the art research facilities and expertise of the faculty combined with the positive…

Student profile: Michael Gilbert SM '15

Q: Why did you choose HSPH? A: I chose HSPH because it provides a unique combination of top-tier faculty, an ambitious, inspired student body, and an unparalleled setting for exploring new ideas. I knew I wanted to work on evaluation and deployment…

Transforming food stamp policy

"Walter Willett is such a great mentor. I don't think I would have these opportunities if he weren't my advisor." Cindy Leung, SD '12; Nutrition and Epidemiology; Berkowitz Fellow 2010 & 2011 Working for a huge California food…

Zip code better predictor of health than genetic code

August 4, 2014 — In St. Louis, Missouri, Delmar Boulevard marks a sharp dividing line between the poor, predominately African American neighborhood to the north and a more affluent, largely white neighborhood to the south. Education and health also follow the “Delmar…

The Impact of Financial Aid

Emmanuel Akintoye, MPH '14 Many ambitious Nigerian children aspire to medical school, but while he had reached this goal, Emmanuel Akintoye wanted something more. He found it in public health. "I knew from the first moment that this is what I want…

As fish farms proliferate, diseases do too

June 26, 2014 — Aquaculture has become a booming industry in Chile, with salmon and other fish farmed in floating enclosures along the South Pacific coast. But as farmers densely pack these pens to meet demand, diseases can easily pass between fish…

Harvard Public Health Magazine Extra: Social Capital & Health

April 2014 - Roseto, Pennsylvania was settled by Italian immigrants who were found to have astonishingly low rates of heart disease in the 1950s. Ichiro Kawachi, chair of HSPH's Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, explains why Roseto is a cautionary tale…

Off the cuff: The $1.50 difference

[ Spring 2014 ] Dariush Mozzafarian, Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology In a recent study, you found that the cost per person of a healthy diet was $1.50 more per day— $550 more per year—than the cost of an unhealthy diet. What…

Harvard professor wins ‘Nobel Prize of water’

For immediate release: Friday, March 21, 2014 Cambridge, MA – A Harvard professor who has made a career of tackling water insecurity challenges around the world will receive the Stockholm Water Prize, known informally as the "Nobel Prize of water." John Briscoe,…

‘Binge-watching’ TV may be harmful to health

Settling into a comfortable chair to “binge-watch” multiple episodes of your favorite TV show for hours may be hazardous to your health over the long-term, according to Lilian Cheung, lecturer and director, health promotion and communication for the Department of Nutrition at…

Premature death

Rob van Dam, Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition, on healthy lifestyles and premature mortality. (October, 2008) Please click the player icon above to play this podcast in your browser. Alternatively, you may download the podcast in mp3 format by right-clicking…

BPA exposure in pregnant women

Joseph Braun, research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health, discusses BPA exposure in pregnant women. November 3, 2010 (5:48) Please click the player icon above to play this podcast in your browser. Alternatively, you may download the podcast in mp3 format by…

Arku's journey

[ Fall 2012 ] Raphael Arku should have been on top of the world. There he was, in his early 20s, a geologist for a gold mining company, a job with prestige and money—neither of which he’d ever had before. The second…

Prevailing winds

[ Fall 2012 ] A decades-long fight to bring clean air standards in line with environmental health science offers lessons for today. On a raw January day in Washington, DC, Douglas Dockery climbed Capitol Hill on his way to testify to Congress…

Getting the lead out

[Fall 2013 Centennial issue] “Every time you fill up your car with gasoline, you can think of Joel Schwartz,” William Reilly, former administrator of the EPA, remarked several years ago. That’s because Schwartz, professor of environmental epidemiology, is the man behind a…

Accentuating the positive

[ Spring/Summer 2012 ] It’s an all too common scene: A girl looks at a photo in a fashion magazine and compares the model’s thin, airbrushed figure to her own rounder shape. She tells her friend, “I am so fat. I hate…

Off the cuff: Bill Hanage

[ Fall 2011 ] Why are we seeing so many deadly new forms of E. coli in our food? "Bacteria are a bit like a Mr. Potato Head®. You have the core DNA—which is the potato—and then onto that are stuck all kinds of…

Off the cuff: Walter Willett

[ Spring/Summer 2011 ] How would you improve the USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans? "The guidelines took baby steps in the right direction. For example, they are very clear about what foods should be increased: whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They also said…

Can neighborhoods hurt our health?

[ Spring/Summer 2011 ] A single mother living in public housing may want to feed her children healthy food, but if the nearest affordable grocery store is a crowded bus ride or expensive taxi trip away, that goal may feel unattainable. At…

Alumni Award of Merit Winners 2009

[Fall 2009] Scientific Pioneers, Inspirational Teachers Call them pioneers for delving into unexplored research areas. Call them conventional-wisdom busters for proving that common health risks can be limited or eliminated. Or call them mentors who challenge students and guide them to be…

Alumni award winners: What we know now

[ Winter 2011] We asked this year’s winners James Dalen, Fernando Guerra, Lynn Rosenberg, and David Schottenfeld: What do you know now about improving the public’s health that you didn’t when you started out in your career? James Dalen, SM '72 “The people are ahead of their doctors.”…

Adding years to life--and life to years

[Fall 2013 Centennial issue] Today, it’s conventional wisdom and a scientific truism that regular exercise is one of the healthiest habits around. But public health researchers weren’t always so certain that physical fitness was essential. One of the first to scientifically document…

Vaccine effectiveness threatened by everyday chemical

[ Spring/Summer 2012 ] HSPH’s Philippe Grandjean answers questions about PFCs In January 2012, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that perfluorinated compounds (PFCs)—which are widely used in manufactured products such as nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and fast-food packaging—dramatically lowered…

Combatting the health consequences of poverty and stress

[Fall 2009] Couple's combined expertise forges new directions for treatment On their way to school one morning, two middle-school boys skirted a crime scene where a high-schooler lay dead, shot just a few minutes earlier while waiting at a bus stop. By…

John Briscoe offers bold, unorthodox ideas for managing scarce water

[Fall 2009] What do people in developing nations understand about water that people in wealthy nations do not? "They understand the absence of it," says John Briscoe, newly appointed Professor of the Practice of Environmental Health at HSPH.  If it doesn't rain, women who haul…

Secrets of sound health

[ Winter 2014 ] Growing up, Francesca Dominici lived about a mile from Ciampino Airport, the second busiest in Rome. As she remembers it, the greatest nuisance from the roar of aircraft over her home was that she couldn’t hear her friends…

The danger of guns in homes

Parents with guns in the house should assume their children are aware of the firearms – and possibly have even touched them, according to David Hemenway, professor of health policy and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center at Harvard School…

Video: Can You Imagine?

Can you imagine what our lives would be like without the help of public health? These adorable kids certainly can—and it’s not pretty.

Imagine a healthier world

May 2012 -- This video looks at some of the cutting-edge work being done by Harvard School of Public Health nutrition researchers to help people everywhere live healthier lives. See how their efforts are changing our very understanding of what’s healthy –…

Walter Willett to receive McGill’s Bloomberg Manulife Prize

Walter Willett, Fredrick John Stare professor of epidemiology and nutrition and chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), has been selected to receive the 2013 Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health. The prize,…

Hemenway's violence prevention work lauded

David Hemenway, who has spent much of his career studying youth violence and implementing violence prevention programs, has received the Striving for Social Justice Award from Community Works, an umbrella organization that comprises 34 social justice groups. Hemenway, professor of health policy…

Frank Hu receives award for diabetes epidemiology research

June 23, 2010 -- Frank B. Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, will receive the American Diabetes Association’s prestigious Kelly West Award for Outstanding Achievement in Epidemiology. The award, given in memory of…

Guns and politics: David Hemenway takes aim at gun violence

January 30, 2011 David Hemenway is Professor of Health Policy and Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. He is also the author of Private Guns, Public Health, which describes the public health approach to reducing firearm violence, and While You…

Solar-powered cooker helps reduce toxic indoor air pollution

August 27, 2013 — While studying climate change in the Himalayas, Catlin Powers, SM’11, a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) PhD candidate in environmental health, was intrigued when a family asked her why scientists were studying outdoor air pollution instead of indoor…

Mobilizing next generation to reduce health care disparities

October 9, 2013 — Racial disparities continue to exert a harmful influence on the health of non-whites in the United States, affecting such measures as obesity rates, infant mortality, and access to health care. Now, a new collaborative effort launched by Harvard…

A tireless advocate for the science of healthy eating

The Boston Globe Magazine profiled Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) nutrition expert Walter Willett in the cover story of its July 28, 2013 issue. Willett, Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and chair of the Nutrition Department at HSPH,…

Walter Willett and the science of eating well

If you were asked to name one person who has changed how we eat and live, the best answer very likely would be Walter Willett, described in a recent feature story in the Boston Globe as “the world’s most influential nutritionist.” A…

Passion for people

"I have a passion for helping people and for understanding what makes them tick. It's exciting for me to try to understand who my audience is and how I can most effectively reach them." Rob Buelow, SM '12;…

Cutting-edge technologies

"It was like a dream come true. That moment will forever be seared in my memory." Mark Wymer, SM '13; Biostatistics; David H. Peipers Fellow Mark Wymer combines a fascination with math with a powerful personal interest in…

A champion of healthy eating

If you were asked to name one person who has changed how we eat and live, the answer could well be Walter Willett, MPH ’73, DrPH ’80, chair of HSPH’s Department of Nutrition. A leading voice in national and global campaigns for…

How public health should work

Douglas Dockery, SM ’74, SD ’79 When it comes to understanding and improving the environment’s effects on health, few have had greater impact than HSPH alumnus and faculty member Douglas Dockery, SM ’74, SD ’79. Today, Dockery is…