RWJF Health & Society Scholars Seminars

The RWJF Health & Society Scholars postdoctoral program at Harvard is anchored by this bi-weekly Thursday seminar series, which provides a forum for transdisciplinary analysis and discussion of major issues in population health. Faculty members from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Medical School, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School of Design attend the sessions throughout the year. The seminars consist of presentations by faculty and researchers from both within and outside Harvard, and are known for yielding rich dialogue and debate.

Spring 2016 Speakers

February 18 – Understanding the Social Determinants of Health through the Lens of Natural Disaster presented by Ichiro Kawachi, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Social Epidemiology, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Co-Director, RWJF Health & Society Scholars program. The largest-recorded earthquake to ever hit Japan struck the island’s coast on March 11, 2011 resulting in tremendous loss and displacement.  Dr. Kawachi’s talk will focus on the predictors of mortality on the day of the disaster (contrasted with predictors of survival in the 3-year follow-up), the predictors of functional independence and cognitive decline among survivors of disaster, and the application of concepts from behavioral economics to shed light on the mechanisms underlying the psychology of scarcity.

March 3 – Prospection 1.0 presented by Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Harvard University. Human beings are unique in their ability to think about the future. But prospection is an evolutionarily new ability and therefore subject to a set of problems that cause people to mispredict not only what will happen, but how they will feel about it when it does.  Dr. Gilbert will discuss these problems, their consequences, and their remedies.

March 24 – Work-family Balance: Why it Matters for Population Health presented by Cassandra Okechukwu, Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

April 7 – The SNaX Study: A Community-Academic Partnership to Address Obesity Among Middle School Students presented by Mark Schuster, Chief, Division of General Pediatrics and Vice Chair for Health Policy, Department of Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital; William Berenberg Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School. In this talk, Dr. Mark Schuster will provide an overview of SNaX, a program designed to prevent adolescent obesity through the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity in middle schools. SNaX uses an innovative curriculum, school food environment changes, student advocacy, and social and multimedia marketing; it also employs principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR). In a randomized study, SNaX had significant effects on students’ healthy eating at school. In addition to summarizing results from the study, Dr. Schuster will discuss lessons learned for conducting CBPR.

April 21 – Adventures in Mapping Daily Stressors to Physical Health and Psychological Well-Being presented by David Almeida, PhD, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University

For information on past seminars, click here.