Harvard Chan School hosts a diverse array of speakers, invited to share both scholarly research and personal perspectives. They do not speak for the School, and hosting them does not imply endorsement of their views, organizations, or employers.

Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

An Action-Oriented Response to Public Health: Where We Were, Where We Are, and Where We Need to Go

December 8th, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

In Person
Walensky headshot on colorful ombre purple and orange background

The 175th Cutter Lecture on Preventive Medicine

Rochelle Walensky
Fellow, Petrie Flom Center, Harvard Law School
Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School
Executive Fellow, Harvard Business School

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a 76 year-old agency and a national treasure that, for many, first came to the public’s eye in February 2020 as the earliest cases of Covid-19 reached American shores. I had the great privilege of leading the CDC for some of the most trying years of its history. Using examples from some of the public health challenges during my tenure – from Covid to Mpox to paralytic polio – I will unpack the details as to how and why some decisions were made. I will outline some of the major challenges in public health that lie ahead – from workforce to data and laboratory infrastructure to limited authorities that constrain the ability of the CDC to swiftly act in the face of infectious threats.  And, I will leave plenty of time for questions to shed some light on my wholly unexpected transition from serving as a physician-scientist leader in academia to heading a federal agency of 12,000 in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Open to the public.

Seating is first come, first served. There will be an overflow room in the event that the main auditorium is filled.


Date: December 8th, 2023
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Calendars: Public Events, School-wide Events
Event types: Lectures / Seminars / Forums


Kresge Building
Snyder Auditorium (Kresge G1)
In Person