The Alumni Award of Merit is the highest honor presented to an alumna/us of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Since 1992, we have recognized over 100 of Harvard Chan School’s highly accomplished alumni with this honor.
In 2011, three additional awards were established by the Harvard Chan School Alumni Association, recognizing achievements in various arenas of public health, and at various stages in public health careers. These are the Leadership Award in Public Health Practice, the Public Health Innovator Award, and the Emerging Public Health Professional Award.
Join us in celebrating our 2022 Alumni Award recipients!
Alumni Award of Merit
Established in 1992, the Alumni Award of Merit is the highest honor presented by the Alumni Association to an alumna/us of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Julie E. Buring, SD ’83
Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Boston, MA.
Julie E. Buring’s research focuses on the epidemiology of chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease and cancer, and especially among women. She has been involved in a number of large-scale randomized clinical trials including the Women’s Health Study, Physician’s Health Study, and VITAL, evaluating the preventive role of aspirin, fish oil, and vitamins D and E. Her work has appeared in more than 900 highly-cited and influential publications. A highly regarded teacher of epidemiology, she has earned two Roger L. Nichols Excellence in Teaching Awards from Harvard Chan School.
Buring is known as a warm and dedicated mentor who has supported and shaped the careers of dozens of postdoctoral trainees, junior faculty members, and other mentees who are now serving as public health leaders around the world. These accomplishments have earned Buring the 2017 Kenneth L. Baughman Faculty Mentoring Award from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the 2021 William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School.
Wafaie Fawzi, MPH ’89, SM ’91, DPH ’92
Richard Saltonstall Professor of Population Sciences, and Professor of Nutrition, Epidemiology, and Global Health. Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Cambridge, MA
Wafaie Fawzi is a physician and epidemiologist admired for his work on interventions that enhance maternal and child health and development. After completing his medical training in his native Sudan, Fawzi earned three degrees at Harvard Chan School and went on to join the faculty. At the School, he is the Richard Saltonstall Professor of Population Sciences, Professor of Nutrition, Epidemiology, and Global Health, and a former chair of the Department of Global Health and Population.
Over the past 25 years, Fawzi has led the design and implementation of more than 30 randomized controlled trials, with an emphasis on nutritional factors. He has also undertaken observational studies to understand the broader epidemiology of global health challenges, with a focus on developing countries in Africa and Asia. His findings have been disseminated through more than 550 papers. To advance this agenda, he brought together collaborators in multiple disciplines across HSPH and other schools at Harvard with global partners at other academic and research institutions.
Fawzi has mentored over 80 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers and created opportunities for students at Harvard and other institutions by founding the Africa Academy for Public Health, which includes transformative programs like the Africa Research, Implementation Science, and Education Network (ARISE), and the China-Harvard-Africa Network (CHAN), which aim to foster global collaboration in research and education. He led the development of 10 training programs to build the capacity of the next generation of leaders with global partners, providing long-term training for several hundred public health professionals in Africa and enhancing the diversity of future global health leaders in the US.
With a clear knack for innovation, education, and serving international communities, Fawzi served as interim director of Harvard’s Center for African Studies during the pandemic, where he convened high-profile meetings on COVID-19 and global cooperation and expanded the Center’s focus to include more STEM topics, broadening the traditional scope of African studies.
Stephen Hwang, AB ’84, MPH ’96
Physician & Research Scientist, St Michael’s Hospital, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions. Toronto, ON
Stephen Hwang is a physician, teacher, and researcher known for pioneering work in the field of homelessness, housing, and health. Throughout his career, he’s been a champion of action on social determinants to improve the wellbeing of disadvantaged people.
While working as a physician for the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Hwang saw firsthand the dire health needs of the people he served and hoped to create change through rigorous research. He went on to become among the first to quantify the impact of homelessness on mortality, showing that homeless men are eight times more likely to die than those in the general population, and to identify risk factors for death in this population. Hwang’s research influenced the 100,000 Homes Campaign in the United States, and subsequently the 20,000 Homes Campaign in Canada, which have mobilized people in hundreds of cities to house thousands of medically vulnerable chronically homeless individuals who are at increased risk of death. A professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, he was appointed chair in homelessness, housing, and health—the first endowed chair in the world to address the impact of homelessness on health.
Hwang continues to practice general internal medicine in the hospital and shelter settings, and to lead a research team dedicated to issues of homelessness, housing, and health.
Professional Achievement Awards
Emerging Public Health Professional Award
The Emerging Public Health Professional Award recognizes early-career public health achievements and contributions of Harvard Chan School graduates who received their degree within the past 10 years.
Sameer S. Kadri-Rodriguez, SM ’14
Tenure-track Investigator and Head of the Clinical Epidemiology Section in the Clinical Center’s Critical Care Medicine Department, National Institutes of Health. Bethesda, MD
Sameer Kadri-Rodriguez has dedicated his career as a physician and researcher to improving outcomes of people with lethal infections, both at the bedside and on a population scale. At the NIH, Kadri-Rodriguez questioned the conspicuous underrepresentation and underutilization of clinical epidemiology in one of the NIH’s research programs when compared to its counterparts—and quickly worked to find a solution for this pressing issue by creating and heading the organization’s Clinical Epidemiology Section and Data Lab, in addition to attending in the ICU, serving as an NIH principal investigator, and training fellows. Each of these roles has helped Kadri-Rodriguez bring to light new discoveries related to understanding and treating sepsis, antimicrobial resistance, and COVID-19.
While caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients on the frontline, he identified many areas where rapid answers could save many lives. He led a team of NIH investigators simultaneously testing multiple hypotheses in near-real time for over 800 U.S. hospitals. He also serves as an advisor to the CDC and collaborated on many epidemiological investigations. His research contributions during the pandemic have provided key public health messages on issues such as the lethal effects of hospital overcrowding, the risk of moving patients between hospitals during the pandemic, and the life-saving impacts of vaccination. Kadri-Rodriguez is the recipient of two NIH Clinical Center science awards for contributions in areas where randomized controlled trials are not possible.
Public Health Innovator Award
The Public Health Innovator Award recognizes a significant innovative contribution to public health made by a distinguished graduate of the School.
Carlos Camargo, DPH ’96
Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Emergency Medicine & Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital; Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA
With a remarkable academic career spanning Stanford, Berkeley, UCSF, and Harvard, Carlos Camargo became a recognized researcher while he was still a student. As an undergraduate, he started the first of several studies on the health effects of moderate alcohol consumption and his first papers, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA, made important contributions to understanding the impact of alcohol on heart disease.
In the mid-1990s, Camargo was the first to document a link between obesity and the development of asthma. In 1996, he also founded the Emergency Medicine Network (EMNet), an international research collaboration with 247 hospitals and a mission to advance public health objectives through diverse projects in emergency care. EMNet is believed to be the largest, sustained emergency medicine research network ever assembled. Among its many activities, EMNet staff survey all US emergency departments annually and they include key information in a free smartphone app called “findERnow”.
Camargo is known for being an encouraging, supportive, and inspiring mentor.
Leadership Award in Public Health Practice
The Leadership Award in Public Health Practice recognizes a graduate who has been an outstanding example of effective leadership in the practice of public health, in the public or private sphere.
Choochai Supawongse, MPH ’91, MOH ’92
President, Rural Doctor Foundation. Nonthaburi, Thailand
For the past four decades, Choochai Supawongse has worked to promote healthy lives and sustainable development in Thailand as a physician, advocate, and public health leader. For this, he has become known as one of the country’s most effective and influential public health figures.
Upon graduating from Chulalongkorn University in the 1970s, Supawongse exhibited an unparalleled passion and devotion for bettering the lives of all Thai citizens, first practicing as a physician in the country’s most impoverished areas. His activism for this population continued amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when he ensured the country’s underserved individuals received up-to-date treatment and preventative services.
Supawongse is also known for leading the charge to curb smoking in Thailand. In 2008, these efforts were recognized by the WHO and in 2017, the community-based anti-smoking initiative he helped spearhead became federal law. That same year, the country established the Primary Health Care Board of Thailand, making primary healthcare a fundamental right for all—a cause he championed as a member of the National Reform Steering Assembly.