A day of reconnecting and learning

Ichiro Kawachi at breakout session
Ichiro Kawachi, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Social Epidemiology, spoke at a panel on working across disciplines to address health disparities.

May 27, 2022 – After two years of virtual graduation events, the Classes of 2020 and 2021 gathered for in-person festivities at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. At the Harvard Chan Live event, students and faculty celebrated the graduates’ achievements and discussed some of the most pressing challenges in public health during a series of departmental breakout sessions and faculty panel presentations.

In opening remarks at the May 27, 2022 event, Erin Driver-Linn, dean for education, acknowledged how COVID-19 had disrupted the Harvard Chan School experience for the Classes of 2020 and 2021. Noting that she felt a sharp demarcation when the first COVID-19 restrictions began in March 2020, she said, “Some of you experienced that abrupt pivot to remote learning, and for the rest of you, it was the expectation, with the added hope that we could lift restrictions quickly. But for all of you, the learning experience was profoundly impacted.”

Harvard Chan Live was organized because members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 had requested a chance to come to campus for an in-person learning event where they could interact with fellow students and faculty members, Driver-Linn said. “And we’ve designed today’s program with exactly that in mind,” she said. “We want you to feel the intellectual vibrancy of our community in a way that is not possible on Zoom.”

Breakout sessions at the event touched on topics such as the public health crisis for Ukrainian refugees and vaccinating the world against COVID-19, and also included networking events and Q&A roundtables with faculty. Topics at the faculty panels included working across disciplines to address health disparities, fighting climate change, and preparing for the next public health crisis.

Jessica Lau

photos: Kent Dayton