August 12, 2021 – The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Alumni Association recently announced the recipients of the 2021 Alumni Awards, who were chosen by their peers through a nomination and voting process. Below are excerpts from the biographies of this year’s winners. The awards will be presented during this year’s virtual Alumni Week, September 27–October 2.
ALUMNI AWARD OF MERIT
Established in 1992, the Alumni Award of Merit is the highest honor presented by the Alumni Association to an alumna/us of Harvard Chan School.
Paula A. Johnson AB ’80, MD ’84, MPH ’85
President, Wellesley College
Throughout her three-decade career, Paula A. Johnson has worked to advance the health, education, and well-being of women around the world. Her research has focused on uncovering and dismantling gender biases in women’s health and the sciences, and her work has powered a paradigm shift in the way medicine is practiced.
Johnson spent much of her career at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she was the first Black physician to serve as chief medical resident and the first Black physician to be promoted to professor. She also founded and directed the hospital’s Center for Cardiovascular Disease in Women and the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology and chaired the Division of Women’s Health. She chaired the Boston Public Health Commission for almost a decade.
Johnson is currently the 14th president of Wellesley College, where she has overseen the development of new opportunities for women and minorities in STEM fields.
Lois B. Travis, MD, SM ’82, SD ’94
Lawrence H. Einhorn Professor of Cancer Research; director, Cancer Survivorship Research Program, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
Lois B. Travis is an advocate for decreasing the cost of the cure for cancer survivors. To this end, she helped establish the field of cancer survivorship and currently serves as the director of the Cancer Survivorship Research Program at Indiana University. With a broad academic background in medicine, pathology, epidemiology, and translational genomics, Travis has contributed to the development of safety protocols for cancer treatments, helped patients avoid second cancers, and improved the lives of countless patients who have survived cancer.
At Indiana University, Travis and her colleagues evaluate therapy-related toxicities with the goal of developing translational research that directly benefits human health. Her research can be credited with establishing the importance of second malignant neoplasms in cancer survivors and defining much of the field’s understanding about dose-response relationships with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Travis is a recipient of the Public Health Service Outstanding Service Medal from the National Cancer Institute.
Stefan N. Willich, MD, MPH ’90, MBA
Director, Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
Stefan Willich is an internist, epidemiologist, musician, and champion of public health. Since 1995, he has served as professor and director of the Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, one of Germany’s most research-intensive medical institutions, which has grown during his tenure to become one of the preeminent epidemiological research centers in the world. The Institute, based at the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, translates many of its preventive medicine research results to clinical practice, and the preventive outpatient clinic established by Willich at Charité has become a model throughout Europe.
Willich’s research has documented the efficacy of traditional and complementary health practices and promoted their use alongside conventional medical treatments. An advocate for integrative medicine and a recognized leader in this field, he founded the European Society of Integrative Medicine, served as the first editor of the European Journal of Integrative Medicine, and convened the first World Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health.
EMERGING PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSIONAL AWARD
Hilary Marston MD, MPH ’13
Director for Global COVID Response on the White House COVID-19 Response Team
Hilary Marston has devoted her career to protecting public health on a global scale, working as a policy advisor in the field of infectious diseases. She joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 2013, where she was instrumental in developing and organizing U.S. responses to the Ebola and Zika outbreaks.
In early 2020, Marston became a key figure in the coordination of COVID-19 activities for NIAID and the National Institutes of Health. She also made significant contributions to Operation Warp Speed, the government’s initiative to accelerate COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. In January 2021, Marston joined the U.S. National Security Council as director for medical and biodefense preparedness. Since May, she has served as director for global COVID-19 response on the White House COVID-19 Response Team. In this role, she leads the administration’s work in global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, including overseeing sharing from the domestic supply and large-scale vaccine purchases for international donation.
LEADERSHIP AWARD IN PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE
Kezevino (Vinu) Aram, MD, MPH ’00
President, Shanti Ashram; Founder, International Center for Child and Public Health (ICPH)
Over the course of her three-decade career, Kezevino Aram has worked to protect, uplift, and advance some of the world’s most at-risk populations, with a particular focus on children in her native India. Her work is primarily focused on advancing pediatric health, tackling health care disparities, alleviating poverty, and fostering social cohesion through active peace-building and interfaith dialogue.
Aram joined Shanti Ashram, an international center for development, learning, and collaboration, two decades ago and became its president in 2014. There, Aram has pioneered a roadmap for integrating health into community development programs and increased the service footprint of the Ashram from 5,000 vulnerable children to nearly 70,000 children and their families across more than 100 villages today.
In 2017, Aram founded the International Center for Child and Public Health. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has served on the experts committee of the government of Tamil Nadu, with the policy mandate of child health and protection.
PUBLIC HEALTH INNOVATOR AWARD
Jocelyn Lehrer SM ’01, SD ’04
Founder and director, Men’s Story Project; public health and gender justice consultant
Jocelyn Lehrer is a public health researcher and practitioner, storyteller, and social entrepreneur. For more than 20 years, her work around the world has focused on gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS prevention and response, and the promotion of healthy masculinity and gender equality. Her research has been published in Pediatrics and other leading journals. In 2008, Lehrer founded the Men’s Story Project, which helps campuses and organizations create and film live productions where diverse men publicly share personal stories examining ideas about masculinity.
Lehrer’s work also includes leading the first quantitative studies of campus sexual assault and dating violence in Chile, consulting on social impact storytelling with MTV and UN Women, working with the USAID Office of HIV/AIDS, and facilitating social support groups for LGBTQ+ youth living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco. She currently serves as senior gender integration consultant with the Global Center for Gender Equality at Stanford University.