Alumni Week 2021
Public Health Through the Life Course
September 27 – October 2, 2021
Welcome from the Dean
Dear Harvard Chan School Alumni,
Welcome to Alumni Week! I always look forward to this time of year as we renew our friendships, catch up on the latest research in our field, and make connections that will inspire new insights and collaborations.
That said, it is difficult to remember a more crucial time for the public health community than the past year and a half. Like all of you, I have been at times overwhelmed by the number and magnitude of public health challenges before us—COVID-19, global conflicts, opioid addiction, gun violence, racial injustice, health disparities, water contamination, and disasters due to climate change. And yet, this extraordinary time has made the societal impact of public health and scientific advances clearer than ever. I am continually inspired by our alumni who are meeting this moment by pioneering innovative solutions and making significant contributions to improving the health and well-being of our most vulnerable global citizens.
As we launch our Alumni Week, we are also excited to be welcoming—for the first time in 18 months—a new cohort of students to campus, chosen from a record number of applicants. Soon, they will join you, our community of Harvard Chan School alumni, in the effort to make health care more equitable and accessible to all—and the world a safer, healthier place for everyone.
The theme of this year’s Alumni Week is “Public Health through the Life Course,” and in this vein, you will be hearing from alumni, faculty, and experts who incorporate historic and cultural contexts in their approaches to understanding public health—and the impact on everything from prenatal care to healthy aging. This week’s panels also feature researchers who are tackling the Harvard Chan Frontiers, our five strategic and research priorities that include Conquering Epidemics, Confronting Climate Change, Overcoming Violence, Cultivating Well-being and Nutrition, and Reimagining Aging.
The six Alumni Award winners we are honoring this week have dedicated themselves to advancing these five core areas of research: serving as a frontline policy advisor during the pandemic, helping men channel their emotions through artistic expression, establishing health care centers for women and children, improving the lives of cancer survivors, exploring how the arts and traditional medicines can complement clinical medicine, and delving into the social determinants and root causes of disparities in health. I hope their stories will inspire you.
To our alumni, faculty, and other presenters, thank you for joining us for Alumni Week. I would like to extend my gratitude to our Alumni Week planning committee and our outgoing Alumni Association President, Dr. Carmon Davis, for your many contributions and notable leadership.
Michelle A. Williams, ScD
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School