Message From the Acting Dean: The Ripple Effect

[Winter 2016]

The stories in this issue of Harvard Public Health demonstrate the extraordinary ripple effect that our School’s graduates are having on populations worldwide.

As you will read in these pages, the husband-and-wife team of Bill and Lori Housworth has transformed pediatric care in the most impoverished parts of Cambodia. Madeline deLone, executive director of the Innocence Project, has led efforts to use DNA evidence to exonerate innocent men and women found guilty and imprisoned in the United States—the country with the highest per capita prisoner rate in the world. In a neighborhood health clinic in Oakland, California, Kimberly Chang has made it her mission to rescue young victims of sex trafficking. And Jeremiah Zhe Liu is forging novel biostatistical methods to pinpoint the sources of air pollution in his native China, in hopes of reversing this public health crisis before time runs out.

Personally, I am honored to be one of only three deans who have graduated from the Harvard Chan School. My decision to travel to Boston from Sydney, Australia, three decades ago—as a master’s degree student—is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I enrolled here because I believed this was the greatest school of public health in the world. I have stayed because, over the years, it has only grown greater. Indeed, we are the most cited faculty in the academic literature.

Challenges certainly remain: increased competition for gifted faculty, researchers, and students; a pressing need to renovate our existing facilities and construct new ones; more funding for research, so that faculty members aren’t trapped on a grant-writing treadmill; and financial aid to students, so that the best and brightest are not impeded in their determined efforts to change the world for the better.

Yet even against this backdrop, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is riding an impressive momentum powered by generous donations from our broad community—individuals, institutions, foundations, faculty, staff, and alumni. In this issue, our annual gift report recognizes their dedication to improving health around the world. As acting dean, it is my great privilege to help ensure that the School’s collective knowledge and passion ripples out to the places in the world that need it most.

David Hunter, MPH ’85, SD ’88
Acting Dean of the Faculty
Dean for Academic Affairs
Vincent L. Gregory Professor in Cancer Prevention Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health