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The Lown Scholars Program

The Lown Scholars Program was established in honor of Dr. Bernard Lown, a world-renowned cardiologist and activist, whose career has advanced public health globally. The Program is designed to create an international cadre of talented health professionals in low and middle income countries (LMICs) who will use public health tools and strategies to prevent non-communicable diseases, particularly diseases of the cardiovascular system, and promote lifelong health. Our goal is to encourage and support teaching, research and training that will help prevent disease around the world, especially in LMICs.

Since its establishment in 2008, The Lown Scholars Program has supported the work of more than two dozen scholars from Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.  Our support has facilitated numerous productive long term collaborations between the Scholars and Harvard Chan School faculty members.


The Lown Scholars Program Funds Visiting Scholars and Fellows

Lown Visiting Scholars are scientists, clinicians or policy makers who have a position in their home country. Most are not degree candidates at the Harvard Chan School. They may be relatively junior professionals who are seeking to develop their skills as they launch their careers, or they may be well established leaders in their home countries who wish to work with peer researchers at the Harvard Chan School, or they may fall somewhere in between.  They spend variable amounts of time – typically a few weeks to a few months – working with a mentor at the Harvard Chan School for additional training or collaboration that will further their work in the field of non-communicable disease prevention. While scholars are funded one year at a time, the awards are renewable, and often continue for several years.

Lown Fellows typically have interests that are aligned with the goals of the Lown Scholars Program, but do not meet the full criteria to become a Lown Scholar.  For example applicants who have not developed a relationship with a mentor may be offered modest funding to take summer courses or other short courses run by the Harvard Chan School.  This provides them with an opportunity to become acquainted with various Chan School faculty members, and often leads to a successful application to be a Lown Visiting Scholar.  Other fellows are Harvard Chan School students or visitors from LMICs who are temporarily residing in Boston.  They are typically funded to carry out a small project with a faculty member, which may lay the groundwork for more extensive work as a Lown Visiting Scholar.

Criteria for Becoming a Lown Scholar

Most important:  The Lown Program is designed to train scholars who are living and working in a LMIC. People who plan to stay in the United States or another high income country should not apply for this program.

The Lown Scholars Program provides funding for training and mentoring to clinicians, scientists, policy makers, nurses and other health practitioners in the fields of nutrition, epidemiology, pathophysiology and optimal management of non-communicable disease. The program focuses on the primary and secondary prevention of non-comunicable diseases, with a focus on conditions that affect the cardiovascular system. This is achieved by integrated multidisciplinary training and collaborations encompassing the fields of physiology, nutrition, epidemiology, environmental health, noninvasive clinical cardiology, economics and health care delivery. The Program enables scholars to return to their home countries or another LMIC to implement preventive strategies related to non-communicable disease and to practice cost-effective, evidence-based public health. The scholars serve as role models in their communities, advocating a preventive approach to non-communicable disease.

While at the Harvard Chan School, Lown Scholars are encouraged to identify innovative applications of nutritional, biologic, behavioral and health policy approaches to the clinical practice and public policy dimensions of cardiovascular disease. They design and execute a research project relevant to or located in their home country or another LMIC, and participate in selected appropriate courses and activities.

Since Lown Scholars come from a variety of backgrounds and have varied career objectives, the Program is flexible in terms of content. Nonetheless, Lown Scholars share common experiences and a vision that binds them together. The Program also connects them with past Lown Scholars through periodic symposia known as Lown Colloquia, as well as through an ongoing expanding global network.

Lown scholars are also expected to participate in a January term course on the prevention of non-communicable disease, which is organized by a member of the Lown Scholar community. Recent Lown Visiting Professor K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, hosted the course in New Delhi in January of 2013 ’14 and ‘15.

A list of low and middle income countries can be found here.