Ming and Snow Tsuang

Ming and Snow Tsuang

New financial aid gifts to support international students, epidemiology students

[ Winter 2013 ]

For some students, attending Harvard School of Public Health can pose a seemingly insurmountable financial burden. Some are doctors already in debt from years of medical school; others come from foreign countries and are not eligible for assistance from the U.S. government. Others simply don’t have the money. That’s why support for financial aid is high on the School’s list of priorities.

Two new financial aid gifts will now help ease financial obstacles for students.

danilovich and frenk

Ambassador John J. Danilovich and Dean Julio Frenk

John and Irene Danilovich have given $250,000 to create a new endowed fellowship fund to support international students. The Danilovich Fellowship will give preference to students from Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Morocco, and Tanzania.

Ming and Snow Tsuang have contributed $100,000 for a new financial aid endowed fund to support epidemiology students. The Tsuang Financial Aid Fund will give preference to students studying psychiatric genetic epidemiology and behavioral genetics. Ming Tsuang, chair and director of behavioral genomics in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, worked at HSPH from 1985 through 2003 and still holds an appointment at the School as director of the Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, an institute he founded.

The Tsuangs moved to UCSD so that they could be near their children and grandchildren, but Ming Tsuang says the couple believe it’s important to continue supporting HSPH students because “many of them become important contributors in the field of psychiatric epidemiology.”

Researchers in the field study both environmental and genetic risk factors for psychiatric disorders ranging from depression to schizophrenia to post-traumatic stress disorder. “These are important areas,” notes Tsuang. “People tend not to talk about these subjects, but the families and the patients who are affected need a lot of help in identifying the risks for these disorders. That’s the reason I’m contributing to help students.”

The Tsuangs also provide support for the epidemiology department’s Brain Health Colloquium, and Ming Tsuang has been working with epidemiology department chair Michelle Williams on ways to raise funds for an endowed chair in psychiatric epidemiology at HSPH.

Gifts such as those from the Daniloviches and the Tsuangs are crucial because they help HSPH maintain an “exceptionally diverse global student body that sets us apart from other schools,” says Dean Julio Frenk. Such gifts, he adds, “create a huge ripple effect when our graduates go on to lead public health efforts around the globe.”

Karen Feldscher