Local DrPH students organize crisis leadership event

Leadership event attendees, pictured clockwise from top left, included Stephanie Kang, DrPH '20, and public health professionals Denizhan Duran, Caroline Pogge, and Nate Horwitz-Willis

May 5, 2020 – Doctor of public health (DrPH) students from around the world met on Zoom recently to hear from experts in the field about leadership during the COVID-19 crisis.

The April 24 event, which was attended by about 75 students, was organized by two DrPH candidates from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—Cristina Alonso, DrPH ’21, and Eric Coles, DrPH ’20—as well as students from Boston University and Tufts University.

Five public health professionals with DrPH degrees discussed their work responding to the COVID-19 pandemic at the local, state, and federal levels. Among them was Claude Jacob, chief public health officer for Cambridge, Mass., who spoke about that city’s response to the pandemic, and Denizhan Duran, DrPH ’19, a health economist for the World Bank, who focused on national-level responses in low- and middle-income countries.

Other speakers included Nate Horwitz-Willis, assistant professor of public health and coordinator of public health practice at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, who discussed Massachusetts’ response to the coronavirus pandemic; and Caroline Pogge, DrPH ’19, a health care administrator and consultant who, as part of Massachusetts’ Academic Public Health Volunteers Corps, is leading a team of public health students helping the Norwood and Westwood, Mass. public health departments with COVID-19 contact tracing. The event was moderated by Elaine Fitzgerald Lewis of the Boston University School of Public Health.

Alonso said it was “fantastic” to have the event online, because it enabled DrPH students to attend from near and far to talk about challenges such as getting systems to work better and translating science into action. “As leaders in the making, it was a great way for DrPHs to come together and talk about the issues we have in common,” she said.

Watch a video of the event:


Karen Feldscher

– Video courtesy Cristina Alonso