Alumni Awards of Merit 2016

Photo by Kent Dayton / Harvard Chan


As chief of the California Department of Health Services’ Cancer Control Branch for 25 years, Dileep Bal pioneered the strategy of countering the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing with an aggressive campaign of advertising. The California model has been replicated worldwide, and Bal’s work with the World Health Organization facilitated the adoption of strong tobacco-control policies in developing countries. Bal has been principal investigator on several national cancer prevention and control projects and has published on topics such as the relationship of diet, tobacco, and cancer with social justice and health equity. A former president of the American Cancer Society, Bal served as district health officer for the Hawaiian island of Kauai and special adviser to the state’s Department of Health from 2005 until his retirement in July. He is a clinical professor at the University of Hawaii’s Cancer Center and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

Photo by Sarah Sholes / Harvard Chan


Howard Dubowitz is an international expert in the eld of child abuse and neglect who has broadened recognition of these issues as a significant—and preventable—public health problem. Now serving at the University of Maryland School of Medicine as head of the Division of Child Protection and a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Dubowitz began his career in child abuse pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital; he was also a clinical instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. As a researcher, he led the development of the Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) model of enhanced pediatric primary care. By identifying and helping address prevalent psychosocial problems, SEEK aims to strengthen families and support parents, thereby promoting children’s health, development, and safety and preventing child abuse and neglect.

Photo by Kent Dayton / Harvard Chan


Richard Heinzl has championed the delivery of health care to those in need and worked to improve the public health of populations in remote corners of the globe and places of conflict. A year after medical school, at age 25, Heinzl founded the Canadian chapter of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning nonprofit Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). He led the organization’s early growth and was its first field volunteer, traveling to Cambodia to help rehabilitate a health care system in the aftermath of that country’s mass killings. Working in remote locations, Heinzl began to see the impact that technology could have on sharing information to improve public health. He served as CEO of several telemedicine companies, where he pioneered new ways for physicians to consult online and for complex medical imaging to be securely transmitted. He is now global medical director of WorldCare Inc.

Photo by Kent Dayton / Harvard Chan

Three Mid-Career Alumni Awards were presented to recognize achievements in various areas of public health and various stages of public health careers.



As chief medical officer of MassHealth, Carolyn Langer provides clinical leadership to the state’s Medicaid program, which serves one out of every four citizens in the Commonwealth. Under her supervision, the Office of Clinical A airs has provided clinical guidance to Affordable Care Act implementation and development of alternative payment models, advancing the use of big data and analytics to promote value, quality, and improved access to care. At the Harvard Chan School, she teaches occupational health policy and administration and is an Executive and Continuing Professional Education lecturer. Langer is a retired colonel, medical corps officer, and flight surgeon in the Army National Guard.



As president and CEO of Micronutrient Initiative, Joel Spicer and his team are scaling up nutrition interventions and approaches to end hidden hunger among vulnerable populations, especial- ly women and children in developing countries. His previous experiences in international development include positions at Global A airs Canada, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank, where he focused on a range of issues including nutrition, maternal and child health, TB control, HIV programming, and innovative financing. As the senior strategist and team leader at WHO’s Stop TB Partnership, Spicer worked with academics, government stakeholders, and political leaders to push tuberculosis higher up on the world political agenda. Today, he remains strongly dedicated to improving people’s health and well-being and to unlocking their potential by working toward an end to malnutrition—one of the biggest threats to development.



Carol Peden has been an innovator in improving outcomes for perioperative (before, during, and after an operation) care for patients who are elderly, have comorbidities, and are undergoing emergency surgery. With colleagues, she formed the Emergency Laparotomy Network, wrote new standards of care for higher-risk surgery patients, and helped develop the U.K. National Emergency Laparotomy Audit. Peden designed and led quality-improvement projects for this high-risk group of patients across the U.K.—an innovative approach credited for a sustained 20 percent decrease in perioperative mortality from the rate first documented in the network study. Peden is a professor in the department of anesthesiology and executive director of the Center for Health System Innovation at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.