Thursday Brown Bag Series

This series features current research of members and affiliates of GHP.  The intent is to educate and raise the awareness of our community and beyond, about the research activities presently being conducted by faculty, students, researchers and special guests of the department.

Seminars are held every Thursday from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Brown Bag Seminars will be hosted online via Zoom.

Upcoming Fall 2020 Seminars

October 29, 2020
Differential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Stigmatized Populations: African Americans in the US, Dalits in India, and Roma in Europe 
Presented by, Vikram Patel, Margareta Matache, and Mary Travis Bassett
Join the discussion here!

November 5, 2020
A Class Apart: COVID-19 Seroprevalence in India 
Presented by, Satchit Balsari and Manoj Mohanan

November 12, 2020
Topic: Modernization of Health Worker Payment in the COVID Era

November 19, 2020
Topic: Delivery of Maternal and Child Health Services during COVID

December 3, 2020
Unemployment Insurance and Food Insecurity Among People who Lost Employment in the Wake of COVID-19
Presented by, Julia Raifman
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Law, Policy & Management, Boston University School of Public Health

Spring 2020 (past seminars)

February 6, 2020
Physicians as Persuaders: Evidence from Hospitals in China
Presented by, Jia Xiang
Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Economics, Pennsylvania State University

For many illnesses, patients seek advice from physicians, who signal the relative value of various treatment options. Patients then incorporate this information into their treatment decision, aware that it may reflect not just their own interests but the physicians’ as well. I characterize this interaction formally using a Bayesian persuasion framework and test the model’s main implications, using health insurance claims data for a large district in China. Using a Difference-in-Differences approach, I find that, for a diagnosis for which surgical treatment is somewhat discretionary, a 1% increase in physicians’ reimbursement for surgery leads to an 8% increase in the likelihood of surgery, with no change in health outcomes. The effect is 1.5 times larger for more insured patients. I then estimate a parameterized version of the model to calculate the value of fully informing patients about the relative value of treatments. While only 8% of the patients choose surgery, 57% of them would not have done so were they fully informed, whereby total welfare rises by 13%.

February 13, 2020
The Global Diet Quality Project: Tools and Data to Measure What the World Eats
Presented by, Anna Herforth, Ph.D.
Senior Research Associate, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Diet quality is vital to public health and nutrition, yet as a global community we have not collected data on what people eat across countries. The Global Diet Quality Project seeks to collect comparable, current diet quality data within the Gallup World Poll: the only survey mechanism to measure well-being across 140+ low, middle, and high-income countries. We use a new low-burden survey instrument that takes <5 minutes to implement, and a suite of diet quality indicators designed for global application. This will produce the first diet quality data-set across countries, and it will enable governments, agencies and projects to collect their own diet quality data going forward.

February 20, 2020
Genocide and Health: Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim Survivors
Presented by, Matthew Smith
Co-Founder and CEO of Fortify Rights


Myanmar Army-led attacks against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017 killed tens of thousands of civilians, razed more than 300 villages in the span of a few weeks, and forced more than 800,000 men, women, and children into neighboring Bangladesh. It was the fastest refugee outflow since the Rwandan genocide. Fortify Rights, a U.N. Fact Finding Mission, and others documented evidence of the crime of genocide, leading The Gambia to file a groundbreaking lawsuit in 2019 against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice. The law of genocide enumerates five acts of genocide, including “serious bodily or mental harm.” In what ways and to what extent have Rohingya experienced mental harm, committed with an intent to destroy them as a group? This talk will explore the issue of mental harm as an act of genocide, including a discussion of new findings from a participatory research project led by Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh as well as evidence of other ongoing, grave issues of Rohingya health in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

February 27, 2020
Venezuela Mixed Flow Migration Crisis and the Challenges of Assessing Vulnerability and Providing Protection
Presented by, Phuong Pham, Ph.D., MPH
Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of Evaluation and Implementation Science at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI).


Between 4.76 and 6.5 million refugees and migrants have left Venezuela as of January 2020, although actual figures are likely higher. The profiles and rates of refugees and migrants leaving Venezuela has shifted over time.  Whereas earlier waves of refugees and migrants, many of whom were young Venezuelans with university degrees, arrived in neighboring countries between 2016 and 2018, more recent waves increasingly include women, children and families who tend to arrive via the Colombian border.  This latter group of refugees and migrants is one representing a lower income and education profile with more limited family/social networks, rendering them particularly vulnerable to exploitation, extortion, human trafficking, gender-based violence (GBV), discrimination, and xenophobia. Data documenting these flows are limited due to difficulties capturing populations on the move and estimating informal border crossings. We’ll discuss the challenges and potential methods of assessing the evolving vulnerability of refugees and migrants from Venezuela.

March 5, 2020
PDIA (Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation) Adventures in Health
Presented by, Salimah Samji, MPA/ID
Director for Building State Capability at the Center for International Development at Harvard University


In this seminar you will learn about the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) approach to solving complex development problems and how it has been used to solve problems in the health sector.

April 23, 2020
Online Survey Findings for COVID-19
Presented by, David Canning, PhD, Phuong Pham, PhD, MPH, and Patrick Vinck, PhD

May 7, 2020
Sex and Gender Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Presented by, Ana Langer, MD
Director, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health
Professor of the Practice of Public Health, Department of Global Health and Population
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/teVTIJj-8FFJHqfpzW6OeZYuRKnnaaa82yVL-voKyUnZWaN8XLIb59GSofcHqcoJ

May 14, 2020
Nowcasting and COVID-19
Presented by, Nicolas Menzies, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Global Health, Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/vdRqApWo-HFOW43U8EKCaqgBXbb5eaa81XdIq_dZmE3suADV5qqejRpMkjLywQ7h
Associated Paper Link

June 4, 2020
COVID-19 and Mental Health: A Global Perspective
Presented by, Shekhar Saxena, MD, FRCPsych and Giuseppe Raviola, MD
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/wtFQd5PK8HtLRp3X0VjmQaEiD6v3T6a8hHMYrPAOnRqIGg62_CDebNM79y16AUvc?startTime=1591290054000

June 11, 2020
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Agriculture and Food Security in India: Results of a 12-state Farmer Survey
Presented by, Lindsay Jaacks, PhD
Assistant Professor of Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/zsArIe3L0E1Lf9ac7FmEWqgHAJzreaa80XQd-aVZxEmr8dWaUluWBEfYT3U-aaj_?startTime=1591894876000
Link to PowerPoint
Check out Lindsay’s webinar on this topic!

June 18, 2020
Ethical Issues in Research on Treatment and Vaccines in the Time of COVID-19
Presented by, Richard Cash, MD, MPH and Daniel Wikler, PhD
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/play/7MYuder8_W03T9TGtwSDCqJ8W9TsJqKshHAZrPFZn0_hUnJWY1eiY7MVYuHOHlK0hFbjG-uLUpanqXsC

June 25, 2020
Democracy and Inequality: COVID-19 and a History of Mendocratic States
Presented by, Jesse Bump, MPH, PhD
Lecturer on Global Health Policy, Department of Global Health and Population
Executive Director, Takemi Program in International Health
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/6-ouMZH72VNJUrPR0kv_QfJ-Pbzvaaa80XUb8qYIzk5nkQ-Ba-KUZ9hYiL6SX6Ky?startTime=1593104569000

September 10, 2020
Mobile Data in the Time of COVID-19
Presented by, Patrick Vinck, PhD
Research Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health and Population
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/i8gkiZMR8sxAwdyCu8OXe914YGbVRiW1BbSqeUkvEC8quX7zmt9dNwiq4X-lEjfr.abQ0dOUULuuIGDVY?startTime=1599757488000

September 17, 2020
Advantages and Limitations of Population-Based and Blood Donors Seroprevalence Studies: The COVID-19 Experience
Presented by, Cesar Victora and Ester Sabino
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/R34nWu4jAKDt1YHXaJpVLkH7gY0GvPQac4C6cIZUkQL225ZwSRRy9IUnxUJgodE.DzAPVk48sWuWRDYe?startTime=1600362167000 

September 24, 2020
Herd Immunity Thresholds for SARS-CoV-2 Estimated from Unfolding Epidemics 
Presented by,Gabriela Gomes
Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/zB7DCdplhwOCjgxjjWf37_UWeDHy3K7u6Rjei1v2uYUI8S25cLAZbPz_L7G7Dw1M.Kbds4SnsCg48CQot?startTime=1600966864000
Link to Paper

October 1, 2020
COVID-19 in Latin America: Situation and Lessons Learned
Presented by, Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Jr.
Assistant Director, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO)
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/TnAlOVMsuHvz-qlRtYbKOybu2e0mozpzr438xgb272VXvwrnR1xaVK9pwUnhtQif.Swsi-EAc_qZZeA-Q?startTime=1601571650000

October 8, 2020
Students’ Experiences Working During COVID-19: Contact Tracing and a Qualitative Study on People Experiencing Homelessness
Presented by, Sophia Comas; Malia Skjefte; Janella Kang; Michelle Ngirbabul; Barune Thapa; Corey Cameron; Kayleigh Bhangdia; Rhiana Fitts; Andrea Vargas Guerra; Alethea Cook
Current Students within the Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/vwQ73U2q4HHklPDnHj_2oqe4FFvig9-nhg4PzzmgZ2hbAm6_VA9R09pcuW13uqh-.G4VEpqw6nUWpzx3W?startTime=1602176475000

October 15, 2020
Why We Need Community Centered Approaches in Research to Tackle COVID-19
Presented by, Sabina Faiz Rashid
Dean and Professor, James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/Xmjg9FVqwYZXe7fnPFD9Hmyox4n6Huy5WmUlhtjgzJ3tjX84N43-zHVDvnzswS8G.mhwwGWp2w-Fko5mh?startTime=1602781251000

October 22, 2020
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Women of India 
Presented by, Poonam Muttreja
Executive Director, Population Foundation of India 
Zoom Recording: https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/aBKq3ferWosgyQZJ-J8GmPhh9vD6s7WruH3pOUHLPv9cJjIBPvta8sDCxDuQlfPY.JX7OyJkiE1niv8yi?startTime=1603386252000