Francesca Dominici, Ronnie Levin named to TIME 100 Health list

Francesca Dominici (left) and Ronnie Levin
Francesca Dominici (left) and Ronnie Levin

May 2, 2024 – Two members of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental HealthFrancesca Dominici and Ronnie Levin—have been named by TIME as among the 100 individuals who most influenced global health in 2024.

The inaugural TIME 100 Health list, published May 2, recognizes the impact, innovation, and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals in health. Dominici and Levin were both listed in the category “Catalysts.”

Dominici, Clarence James Gamble Professor of Biostatistics, Population, and Data Science and faculty director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative, was cited for her work fighting air pollution. Her research has shown the health risks of fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution—the kind produced by vehicle exhaust, power plants, wildfires, and other sources. In the citation about Dominici, TIME quoted a spokesperson from the Environmental Protection Agency who credited her groundbreaking work in driving the agency’s recent decision to reduce permissible concentrations of PM2.5 from 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 9 micrograms. Said Dominici, “Lowering from 12 to 9 [micrograms] means breathing cleaner air for everyone. It’s a huge public health victory.”

Levin, an instructor, was chosen for her research on lead, which played a key role in an EPA proposal requiring that all the lead pipes in the U.S. be replaced within a decade. A 2023 cost-benefit analysis by Levin and Joel Schwartz, professor of environmental epidemiology—who is both Levin’s colleague and husband—showed that cutting lead in drinking water could save the U.S. more than $8 billion a year in health benefits and at least $2 billion in infrastructure costs, far more than the EPA had previously calculated. Levin told TIME that she’s thrilled about the EPA’s proposed rule, but added, “Without good implementation, and without enforcement … not much is gonna happen.”

Karen Feldscher

Photo of Francesca Dominici: I Am a Scientist
Photo of Ronnie Levin: Kent Dayton/Harvard Chan School

Read the TIME article about Francesca Dominici: Fighting pollution

Read the TIME article about Ronnie Levin: Leading on lead

Learn more

New tougher U.S. air pollution standards shaped by Harvard Chan School research (Harvard Chan School news)

Plan to eliminate lead pipes a ‘big win’ for Harvard Chan School scientists (Harvard Chan School news)