Alumni Week 2020

Lifting Lives

Public Health Solutions for Vulnerable Populations

State of the Alumni Association

Photo of Carmon DavisDear Fellow Alumni,

It is an honor to serve as the President of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Alumni Association. It has been an extraordinary year, filled with unprecedented challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic which changed all of our lives. We all had to face a “new normal” together. I am proud to be a Harvard Chan alumna, as I gained the knowledge and skills to serve my patients, many of whom are among vulnerable populations.

I am pleased to report that our Alumni Association is stronger than ever. This is due to the tireless work of all our dedicated alumni volunteers, including the officers of the Alumni Council, committee members, chapter officers, Admissions Ambassadors, Global Connectors and other alumni, along with the Office of Alumni Affairs staff, who met the challenges of working virtually this year. This work ensures the functioning of the Association. It is with immense gratitude, I am proud to highlight several accomplishments and outcomes during this unprecedented year.

 Alumni Engagement

 One goal is to improve alumni engagement, by strengthening alumni connections with the School and with each other.

We had more alumni engaged this past year, than in any other year.

  • Over 1,000 alumni attended 17 alumni events across the world.
  • We now have 201 alumni volunteers.
  • Last year more than 130 alumni returned to campus for our annual Alumni Weekend: “Misinfodemics: How the spread of false science harms the public’s health”.
  • The number of alumni who submitted proposals to present a Lightning Talk during this year’s Alumni Week increased dramatically from the previous year. There were 31 proposals submitted this year, whereas, last year 10 proposals were submitted.
  • The Nominating Committee received a high number of nominations for Councilor to the Alumni Council this year. There were 36 nominations, an increase from 30 Councilor nominations in 2019.
  • The Alumni Council voted to make the Alumni Giving Committee a standing committee, to reflect the reinvigorated focus to support the School’s research, educational, and student support priorities. This committee launched its first Alumni Giving Day on March 4, 2020, raising more than $40,000 in alumni gifts.
  • A new volunteer opportunity was launched, the Global Connectors, to give voice to alumni in areas of the world, where there are fewer Harvard Chan alumni.
  • Alumnae in San Francisco joined to create a San Francisco Alumnae Circle, giving the women of Harvard Chan a place for community and discussion.
  • A Career Boot Camp for alumni was held in Washington D.C. and Boston, to allow alumni to explore careers in public health.

 Highlighting the Achievements of our Alumni around the World

We have a wealth of talent and achievement among our alumni which deserve recognition. In addition to our esteemed Alumni Association Awards, another goal is to highlight the work of our extraordinary alumni, and show how our alumni have made an impact around the world. A new initiative, the Frontiers Committee, was created to highlight the remarkable achievements of our alumni through alumni stories, utilizing the Harvard Chan Frontiers as a framework. The Harvard Chan Frontiers are:   Reimagining Aging, Overcoming Violence, Confronting Climate Change, Cultivating Well-Being and Nutrition, and Conquering Epidemics. You may learn more about the Harvard Chan Frontiers and how the School’s faculty, researchers and collaborators, are moving the School closer to scientific breakthroughs.

Serving Harvard Chan and Harvard University—New Officers

Aparna Chandrasekhar SM’12, and Priti Lakhani SM’13 were elected in 2019, and they joined Ahmed Abdelfattah MPH’19 (Class of 2019 President) as Councilors for a three year term (2019-2022).

Ekundayo “Dayo” Ajayi-Obe SM’98, and Andrew Sanderson MPH’16, were recently elected, and they join Bryan Buckley DrPH’20 (Class of 2020 President) as Councilors for a three year term (2020-2023).

Jayson Toweh SM’19 was recently elected to the serve on the Harvard Board of Overseers.

Our Students Need our Support.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and its alumni, continues to have a profound effect on lifting lives through public health. However, imagine if you had not matriculated at Harvard Chan due to financial reasons. The “new normal” for many of our students includes unanticipated financial challenges. Many alumni asked how they can support students during this challenging time. If we are to continue to have a global impact in the future, please consider making a gift to support student financial aid. Any gift is greatly appreciated.

We Are Harvard Chan Alumni. We Thrive Wherever We Are.

While we are not together in person this year, we can still celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni, including the seven alumni who are being recognized for their achievements this week. You may read about this year’s award winners here. The virtual format has also enabled alumni from around the world to attend Alumni Week, and to participate as speakers. I wish to thank the Alumni Weekend Committee for their incredible work, especially as they pivoted from planning a weekend of in-person events, to planning a week of virtual events.

I wish to thank Dean Michelle A. Williams, the alumni volunteers, the members of the Alumni Council, the members of the committees, the staff of the Office of Alumni Affairs, the Office of External Relations, Harvard Chan School faculty, and you, the alumni, for all that you do. You have worked tirelessly in diverse arenas, while caring for your families and yourselves during this unprecedented time. It is your compassionate work and support of others that reflects the values of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

I hope you enjoy Alumni Week 2020.


Carmon J. Davis MD’90, MPH’94, MBA
President, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Alumni Association