Leadership of the Department of Environmental Health

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community,

I am writing to let you know that Russ Hauser will be stepping down as chair of the Department of Environmental Health. Russ has led the department since 2016. We will immediately begin the search process for a new chair.

I extend my deep gratitude to Russ for his highly productive and outstanding leadership. He is stepping down from serving as chair to refocus on his research program and also looks forward to increasing his involvement in efforts to advance policies to protect children from adverse health effects of environmental chemicals.

Under Russ’ direction, the Department of Environmental Health oversaw the promotion of two faculty to professor with tenure and three faculty to associate professor, recruited four junior faculty, initiated department-wide activities to foster community and new collaborative opportunities—such as the annual department-wide retreat—and more fully incorporated the John B. Little Center’s faculty and researchers into the department and moved their labs onto the main campus. In addition, during Russ’ leadership the department received funding for a new Superfund Research Program, and successfully renewed its longstanding NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) Environmental Health Center and NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety) Environmental Research Center.

In consultation with Russ and Francine Laden, associate chair of the department, I have asked Doug Dockery, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Research Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and former chair of the department (2005-16), to step in as acting chair during this transition period. Doug has agreed and will begin this new role on March 1, 2021. Doug will work closely with Francine, who also directs the Exposure, Epidemiology, and Risk program, and the directors of the other two department programs — Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology (David Christiani) and Molecular and Integrative Physiological Sciences (Jeff Fredberg).

On behalf of the Harvard Chan community, I express my sincere thanks to Russ for his many contributions as chair and wish him continued success. I am also grateful to Doug for taking on this leadership role during the transition.



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