Dr. Lauren Smith, Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Public Health of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been appointed as a Yerby Visiting Associate Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health at HSPH during this semester. Dr. Smith brings a wealth of policy experience. Prior to becoming the Medical Director of DPH, she was the National Medical Director for the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (2002-2007), an innovative program that links disadvantaged pediatric patients and their families with legal assistance concerning issues such as housing and financial difficulties. As a model of translating the social determinants of health disparities into concrete policy action, the medical-legal partnership model has drawn national attention, and serves as a best practice example of how collaboration between the medical and legal profession can deliver optimal patient outcomes. Dr. Smith also served as a key staff member to the Massachusetts Legislature’s State Commission to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health (2004-2006), which led to several legislative initiatives that are still working its way through the State House. Dr. Smith was also a Health Policy Fellow in the Office of the Speaker of the House from 2005-2007. Please join me in welcoming Lauren, whose first day at HSPH was Feb 11.
Karestan Koenen has just accepted a tenured position in the Epidemiology Department at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health where she will play a leadership role in the development of their psychiatric epidemiology and life course epidemiology programs. Karestan has served as a valued and distinguished member of our faculty since 2004, where she has earned international renown for her research using a lifecourse epidemiologic approach to examine the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the production of stress-related mental disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. During her time at HSPH, Karestan played a key role in the human development track and the training program in psychiatric epidemiology and biostatistics. She has also been an affiliated faculty member in the Harvard Center on the Developing Child where she serves on their steering committee. Please join me in congratulating Karestan on her new role, and wishing her continued success in her career.