Outgoing and incoming PDA officers

Outgoing and incoming PDA officers

Creative, intelligent, energetic: HSPH celebrates its postdocs

September 26, 2013 — A celebration of Harvard School of Public Health’s postdocs—as well as their mentors—was held on September 20, 2013, coinciding with National Postdoc Appreciation Week. The festive event in Kresge cafeteria featured awards, prizes, raffles, and kudos for the work and accomplishments of the approximately 300 postdoctoral research fellows who work at the School.

Postdocs were lauded for their “creativity, intelligence, candor, and love of learning” by Jeffrey Katz, professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, who received the “Mentor of the Year” award from the HSPH Postdoctoral Association (PDA). Katz, who was chosen from a group of 17 nominees, couldn’t attend the event, but his comments were read by incoming PDA president Usheer Kanjee. “You infuse the HSPH community with fresh critical insights and unbounded energy,” Katz wrote about the postdocs. Katz was nominated by outgoing PDA president Alberto Caban-Martinez.

Outgoing PDA president Alberto Caban-Martinez (left), chats with incoming president Usheer Kanjee

Outgoing PDA president Alberto Caban-Martinez (left), chats with incoming president Usheer Kanjee

Caban-Martinez listed some of the PDA Council’s recent accomplishments:

• Postdoc Mehmet Furkan Burak helped establish the Kocaeli Travel Awards, offered for the third time this year, which enable several HSPH postdocs to spend a week or two visiting Kocaeli University in Turkey, where they participate in scientific exchanges with research and medical faculty.

• Working with the Harvard Global Health Institute, the PDA developed a “Public Health 101 Nanocourse,” open to anyone interested in learning about public health.

• The PDA Council worked with the HSPH Office of Student Affairs to establish a health insurance policy for all postdocs.

Glorian Sorensen, professor of society, human development, and health and a nominee for the PDA Mentor of the Year award, chats with postdocs.

Glorian Sorensen (left), professor of society, human development, and health and a nominee for the PDA Mentor of the Year award, with postdoc appreciation event attendees

• Postdocs who complete a year of work at HSPH may now join the HSPH Alumni Association, and can also receive an official document confirming their postdoctoral training at HSPH.

Caban-Martinez gave thanks and awards to members of the 2012-13 PDA Council and announced the 2013-14 Council, which includes Kanjee, president; Benedicte Mengel, vice president; Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala, secretary; and Morteza Asgarzadeh, treasurer.

Karen Feldscher

Photos: Emily Cuccarese

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Postdoctoral Research Fellows