Chair Chatter

Chair Chatter

May 26, 2023

This has been an exciting week for our graduates.  It was fun to see our graduates and to meet many of their families at the pre-award ceremony that we hosted on Tuesday on the 13th floor. Thank you, Barbara Zuckerman for organizing it, and to Jen Razo and Shaun Heller for helping.

Then it was off to the award ceremony, where several members of our EH community received awards, including Chimwemwe “Chim” Mwase, Gary Adamkiewicz, Francine Laden, and Midge Van Aller.  On Wednesday I was honored to be on the stage as chair as our graduating students received their well-earned diplomas at the class of 2023 convocation. The speeches by Dean Williams, Hailey Hernandez, Trishan Panch, and the convocation address by Carlos Alvarado Quesada, 48th president of Costa Rica were excellent. And I hope many of you were able to attend Thursday’s Harvard University commencement ceremony in Cambridge featuring Tom Hanks. Congratulations to all our students and awardees for their accomplishments!

Drs. Chim Mwase and Jin-Ah Park

Dr. Ed Baker invites our community, particularly our students, to join the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice’s Leadership Library, where this link will always bring you to articles relevant to public health practitioners.

Here is some information about a GeoHealth internship sponsored by the NSF that may be of interest to those interested in the link between geosciences and human health.

I came across this article in Harvard Medicine entitled “Climate Anxiety” which links the effects of climate change on the mental health of our youth.

This week’s joys were countered by some sad news.  Our condolences go out to Jamie Hart, who lost her father Edward Hart.  Also, we lost our former colleague Stephen (Steve) Rudnick, a graduate of our school who went on to have a career spanning over 40 years in our department culminating as a senior lecturer in industrial hygiene. Our condolences go out to Jaime and her family, and to Steve’s family and friends.

Last chance for you to send highlights from this academic year (July 2022 through June 2023) for the EH yearbook. While we may not be able to include everything, please let us know of your awards/honors, grants awarded/completed, conference presentations, translation of research and media coverage for activities between July 2022 – July 2023. Photos are also welcome! Please complete this Qualtrics survey by May 31. Write to Shaun Heller for more information. We look forward to hearing from all members of our community, including alumni!

Weekly Policy Snippet: Business use of personal cars: Harvard reimburses mileage up to the federal rates for business use of personal cars; gas expenses cannot be reimbursed. The University will NOT reimburse travelers for gas expenses in lieu of miles, or for commuting, or for tickets or repairs. For more guidance, please refer to Appendix B in the Travel Policy.

I hear you: Speaking of last chance to complete surveys, if you haven’t already filled out this short survey about research talks and career events you would like to see in the upcoming year please do so now:

I didn’t want this month to pass without acknowledging that May is AAPI Heritage month as well as Jewish American Heritage month.  We have many people in our EH community that identify with these groups, and we celebrate them.  We know that our EH community’s diversity only makes us better!

Kaitlin Breen also let me know that May is National Pet month, and she says her cats are miffed that they have not seen any mention of pets this month when they read the chatters. So here are Mia (white) and Toothless (black), although to me they look more like Spy vs. Spy.

And, as if Kaitlin’s cats aren’t cute enough, I leave you with Oliver, born May 16 to Danielle von Rechenberg in Joe Allen’s group. Joe’s group is leading in infants born this month – see last week’s chatter.

Welcome Oliver and congratulations to your parents!

Please send any upcoming events and news to

I know we are all looking forward to a long Memorial Day weekend.  Why not take a moment to reflect on the meaning of this holiday, remembering and honoring the members of our armed forces who have served our country.  I hope you enjoy this nice, long holiday weekend that marks the unofficial beginning of summer.



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