Speakers

Lisa Berkman, PhD, is Director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and a social epidemiologist whose work focuses extensively on social influences on health and aging. She is also the Cabot Professor of Public Policy, Epidemiology and Global Population Health at HSPH. Her research has been oriented towards understanding social inequalities in health related to socioeconomic status, different racial and ethnic groups, and social networks, support, and social isolation. She is currently involved in interventions and policy evaluations to test the degree to which labor and occupational policies and practices can improve population health and well being.  Dr. Berkman is an innovator in linking social experiences with physical and mental health outcomes and edited (with Ichiro Kawachi) the first textbook on social epidemiology.

Rebecca Betensky, PhD, is Professor of Biostatistics at HSPH. She is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and the 2005 recipient of APHA’s Mortimer Spiegelman Award for outstanding contributions to health statistics. Her current methodological interests include survival analysis under complex sampling and with auxiliary information, high dimensional imaging and genomic analysis under outcome-based sampling, and analysis of biomarker studies.  She has collaborated on studies of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and kidney injury. Dr. Betensky is currently serving on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Review of the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides, and recently completed service on the IOM Committee on Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury.


Julie Buring, SD ’83, the primary focus of Dr. Buring’s research has been on the epidemiology of chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease and cancer, and especially among women. At present, she is primarily involved in four ongoing large-scale randomized clinical trials: the Women’s Health Study, a primary prevention trial evaluating the balance of benefits and risks of low dose aspirin and vitamin E on cardiovascular disease and cancer among 40,000 female health professionals; the Women’s Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study, a secondary prevention trial evaluating the roles of vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene and folic acid/B6/B12 among 8,000 women with a prior history of heart disease; the Physicians’ Health Study II, evaluating vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene and a multivitamin among 15,000 male physicians; and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Vanguard Center of the Women’s Health Initiative, evaluating the roles of low-fat diet, postmenopausal hormones, and calcium/vitamin D supplementation among over 70,000 women nationwide.


Karen Emmons, PhD, is Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Society, Human Development and Health at HSPH. She is also Deputy Director of the Center for Community-Based Research.  She is a leader in research on community-based approaches to cancer prevention, particularly for underserved populations.  Among her research interests are smoking cessation and development of policy interventions related to tobacco.  Dr. Emmons has conducted seminal research on reducing environmental tobacco smoke among young children from low-income families.  She has also studied populations at high-risk for cancer, including childhood cancer survivors and family members of cancer patients.  Her work in this area targets prevention of lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma. She provides substantial senior leadership in the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.


Juan Enriquez, AB ’81, MBA ’86, is an experienced business leader, author, and academic who is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of life sciences.  He is a Managing Director in Excel Venture Management, a venture capital firm that invests in companies that apply transformative life science technologies to solve problems in health care and beyond. He was the founding director of Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project.  He then founded Biotechonomy LLC, a life sciences research and investment firm, where he remains as Chairman and CEO.  In July of 2005, he co-founded Synthetic Genomics, Inc., a synthetic biology company focused on developing and commercializing genomic-driven solutions to address global energy, medicine, clean water, and food challenges.  He has been an active investor in early-stage private companies in the biotechnology and information sciences sectors. While at Harvard, he wrote various articles and case studies, won a McKinsey Prize, and published the best-selling As the Future Catches You. His most recent publication is an eBook co-authored with Dr. Steve Gullans, Homo Evolutis: A Short Tour of our New Species, which describes a world where humans increasingly shape their environment, themselves, and other species.


Drew Gilpin Faust, is the 28th President of Harvard University and the Lincoln Professor of History in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. As president of Harvard, Faust has expanded financial aid to improve access to Harvard College for students of all economic backgrounds and advocated for increased federal funding for scientific research. She has broadened the University’s international reach, raised the profile of the arts on campus, embraced sustainability, launched edX, the online learning partnership with MIT, and promoted collaboration across academic disciplines and administrative units as she guided the University through a period of significant financial challenges. She is the author of six books, including This Republic of Suffering:  Death and the American Civil War (2008), for which she won the 2009 Bancroft Prize, the New-York Historical Society’s 2009 American History Book Prize, and which was recognized by The New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2008.”  It is the basis for a 2012 episode of the PBS American Experience documentaries titled “Death and the Civil War,” directed by Ric Burns.


Julio Frenk, MD, PhD, MPH, is Dean of the Faculty at Harvard School of Public Health and T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, a joint appointment between the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and HSPH. Dr. Frenk served as the Minister of Health of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, during which time universal health insurance was introduced. He has also held leadership positions at the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, the Mexican Health Foundation, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Carso Health Institute. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico. In September of 2008, Dr. Frenk received the Clinton Global Citizen Award for changing “the way practitioners and policymakers across the world think about health.”


Katherine Hope, PhD, is Chief Financial Officer at HSPH. She has 25 years of experience providing effective financial and strategic leadership in a variety of educational, non-profit, and governmental organizations.  Prior to joining HSPH, she was the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In addition to her experience in higher education, Dr. Hope worked at Partners HealthCare for a decade, where she served as Budget Director of Massachusetts General Hospital overseeing both the operating and capital budgets. She has also been CFO at two education-related non-profit organizations: The Writers Express and the National Council of Teachers of English. Dr. Hope began her budget and finance career as an analyst at the Massachusetts State Budget Bureau.


Gökhan S. Hotamisligil, MD, PhD, is the James Stevens Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism and the chair of the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at HSPH. Dr. Hotamisligil’s research efforts focus on the genetic basis of common and complex conditions, particularly obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.  His discoveries include the identification of molecular pathways that link obesity and diabetes, the identification of molecular links between pathogen and nutrient sensing systems, and the role of lipid chaperones in regulating metabolic syndrome and the production of novel lipid hormones.  His lab also discovered the importance of endoplasmic reticulum stress. These studies have demonstrated that inflammation is at the heart of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes and have led to many drug discovery and development programs around the world.


David J. Hunter, MPH ’85, SD ’88, is the Vincent L. Gregory Professor in Cancer Prevention and Dean for Academic Affairs at HSPH.  Dr. Hunter’s principal research interests are the etiology of cancer, particularly breast, prostate, pancreas, and skin cancers.  He is an investigator on the Nurses’ Health Study, a long-running cohort of 121,000 US women, and was project director for the Nurses’ Health Study II, a newer cohort of 116,000 women.  He also analyzes inherited susceptibility to, and gene-environment interactions with, cancer and other chronic diseases using gene sequencing.  Dr. Hunter has also studied HIV transmission for over twenty years, initially in Kenya and then in Tanzania.  He is the Director of HSPH’s Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology and is the Principal Investigator in a number of ongoing breast and prostate cancer studies.


Curtis Huttenhower, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at HSPH. He helped coordinate the Human Microbiome Project Consortium, an effort to identify and analyze the vast human “microbiome”—the more than five million microbial genes that exist inside the human body.  Dr. Huttenhower applies machine learning and data mining techniques to large collections of genomic data in order to better understand the information they contain relating to genes, pathways, and diseases. This has applications for basic research, where scientists can now direct specific laboratory experiments in model organisms using these analyses, and to human disease, where researchers can posit new mechanisms and drug targets for the treatment of complex microbial disorders.  Dr. Huttenhower recently received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their careers.


Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH ’04, is the C. Boyden Gray Associate Professor of Health Policy at HSPH and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In addition, Dr. Jha is an internal medicine physician for the VA Boston Health Care System of the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  His major research interest is improving the quality of health care with a specific focus on the impact of current state and federal policy efforts.  His work focuses on four primary areas: public reporting, pay-for-performance, health information technology, and organizational leadership. Dr. Jha serves as Special Advisor for Quality and Safety to the Department of Veterans Affairs and recently launched a blog, An Ounce of Evidence (http://blogs.sph.harvard.edu/ashish-jha/), where he advocates for “the notion that an ounce of data is worth a thousand pounds of opinion.”


Michael Kan, MSc, JD, is a seasoned manager with over 30 years of experience. Michael joined HSPH as Executive Dean for Administration in July 2011. Before coming to HSPH, Michael served as chief of staff to the CFO and treasurer for Partners Healthcare. Also during his tenure at Partners he served as Corporate Director of Shared Services where he managed a staff of 500 while overseeing a large part of Partners’ revenue cycle operations. Earlier in his career, Michael worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Director of the Division of Purchased Services, as an Assistant Town Manager in Windsor, CT, and prior to that as a Vice President for Crocker Bank in San Francisco, CA.


Lorelei Mucci, SD ’03, is Associate Professor of Epidemiology at HSPH and co-leads the Cancer Epidemiology program at the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.  She has more than ten years of research and teaching experience in cancer epidemiology, with a particular focus on prostate cancer.  As a Primary or Co-Investigator on several funded studies, she bridges population science and molecular biology to look across the spectrum of prostate cancer incidence, cancer mortality, and somatic alterations.  Her work puts her in collaboration with a renowned group of prostate cancer investigators and clinicians from around the world on a number of groundbreaking studies including: the Nordic Twin Study of Cancer, the Prostate Cancer Patho-epidemiology Collaboration, and Steps for Prostate Cancer Health and Survival, a walking intervention study among men with prostate cancer.


Eric Rimm, SD ’91, is Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at HSPH and Harvard Medical School and Director of HSPH’s Program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology.  Dr. Rimm served as the director of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for twenty years, a prospective investigation of diet and chronic disease among 50,000 male health professionals. His major research interests include the study of associations between diet and other lifestyle characteristics in relation to the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Dr. Rimm served on the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee and the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes for Macronutrients Committee. He is an international speaker on diet and health and has given talks to academic groups, industry, and public health organizations across the globe.


Ellie Starr is Vice Dean for External Relations and leads the fundraising, communications, and alumni relations efforts for HSPH. A veteran of the development field, Starr began her career at Brandeis University, where she planned and implemented strategy to develop and cultivate planned and major gifts. She later served as Executive Director of the Perkins Trust and increased fundraising by 40 percent. Prior to her role at Perkins, Starr spent eight years at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she built the individual giving teams and developed fundraising strategies and plans for the $1 billion Mission Possible Campaign, the largest in Dana-Farber’s history.


Dyann F. Wirth, PhD, is Richard Pearson Strong Professor of Infectious Diseases and chair of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at HSPH.  Dr. Wirth is a world-renowned leader in malaria research and has provided new insight into the malaria parasite’s evolution, specifically in relation to population biology and drug resistance. Leveraging the tools of the human genomic project, Dr. Wirth and her multi-disciplinary team are working to understand the basic molecular mechanisms in protozoan parasites to aid in the discovery and application of preventive and therapeutic interventions against infection. Dr. Wirth is co-Chair of the Global Infectious Diseases Program at the Harvard Global Health Institute, Director of the Harvard Malaria Initiative, and Senior Associate Member and co-Director of the Broad Institute’s Infectious Disease Initiative.


Nathan Wolfe, AM ’97, SD ’98, Dr. Nathan Wolfe is an alumnus of HSPH and an epidemiologist who fights disease pandemics through the use of an early-warning system designed to forecast, pinpoint, and control new plagues before they kill millions. His survey of the diseases that have historically had the greatest impact on humanity revealed that most started with animals. Based on this, Dr. Wolfe created Global Viral, an international network of field sites in viral hot spots where people are highly exposed to animals and most at risk for early infection when those viruses leap from animals to humans. Global Viral coordinates over 100 scientists and staff globally to spot viruses as soon as they surface by collecting and cataloguing blood samples, surveying wild animals, scanning urban blood banks, and documenting the transfer and distribution of disease. Data gleaned from a dozen field sites in Cameroon, China, Malaysia, and other countries has led to the discovery of a number of previously unknown infectious agents, notably simian foamy and t-lymphotropic viruses that were transmitted to humans from primates. Dr. Wolfe was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2011 and his work has been published in or covered by Nature, Science, The New York Times, The Economist, The New Yorker, and Forbes. Dr. Wolfe has been featured in documentaries for National Geographic and CNN’s Planet in Peril, and he has had multiple appearances on NPR and National Geographic Weekend. At HSPH, Dr. Wolfe was a Taplin Fellow and earned his doctoral degree from the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases.