Past workshops, conferences and other special events

Climate Change, Social Inequity and the People’s Health, a book reading with Sharon Friel, PhD: Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 4:00 – 6:00 pm

We were honored to help launch the new book “Climate Change and the People’s Health,” the second in the series Small Books, Big Ideas in Population Health edited by Nancy Krieger, PhD.  The Harvard Pop Center co-sponsored this event in conjunction with the Planetary Health Alliance, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University Center for the Environment, and the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. See pictures from the event at the Pop Center!


Pretzels & Posters at the Pop Center: Friday, December 14, 2018, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, researchers and graduate students shared their recent findings via large format posters while sipping local micro-brew and cider and sampling German-style appetizers, along with tea and desserts. View photos from the event.


Worldwide Week at Harvard event: Book launch celebration with Harvard Sociology Professor and HCPDS Associate Director Jason Beckfield, PhD – Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 4:00 – 6:00 pm

We celebrated Jason’s new book “Political Sociology and the People’s Health,” with a reception and book signing event.  See photos from the event. Welcome and opening remarks were delivered by Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, Social Epidemiology Professor and Series Editor Nancy Krieger introduced the Small Books, Big Ideas in Population Health series, and author Jason Beckfield gave a brief talk and then signed books.


SPECIAL EVENT  “Nations at Risk: The Changing Distributions of Population Health Colloquium” with Professor Sir Angus Deaton and Professor Sir Michael Marmot – Friday, April 13, 2018, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

The Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, in collaboration with the PhD Program in Population Health Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was pleased to welcome two renowned scholars who shared their insights into how economic and social inequalities impact health and well-being. Professor Sir Angus Deaton is a Senior Scholar and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. In 2015, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare. Professor Sir Michael Marmot is Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London where he serves as director of The UCL Institute of Health Equity. He chaired the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) that was established by the World Health Organization in 2005, and produced the comprehensive Closing the Gap in a Generation report in August 2008. Additional commentary was by Lisa Berkman, Director, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies; and Director, PhD Program in Population Health Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Michelle Williams, Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Jason Beckfield, Associate Director, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies; and Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Sociology Department, Harvard University.

See photos and learn more about this event in this HCPDS newspost and in The Harvard Gazette. The event was also broadcast live online.


Meeting and Reception for Faculty Featuring Chocolate Tasting – Friday, February 9, 2018,  2:00–4:30 pm.

Members of the Harvard Pop Center’s interdisciplinary faculty were invited to a meeting and reception to introduce themselves, describe their current research, and mingle! Guests sampled a curated collection of specialty chocolates from around the world with a tasting led by a chocolate connoisseur. Visit this page to see photos from the event.


WORLDWIDE WEEK AT HARVARD: “Health and aging in Africa: Early results from a longitudinal study,” presented by Lisa Berkman, David Canning and Livia Montana – Thursday, October 26, 2017, 12:00–1:30 pm. 

In 2013, the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies launched Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI), the first Health and Retirement (HRS) sister study in Africa. The project is led by an interdisciplinary team of collaborators from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, and The INDEPTH Network, a global network of health and demographic surveillance systems. The project aims to identify the biological, social, and economic conditions that shape health in the aging population of Agincourt, South Africa. Major themes include: dementia and cognitive impairment, HIV, cardiometabolic risks and disease, and public policies. In a special Social Demography Seminar, HAALSI researchers presented on the significance of the study, the survey and testing methodologies, early results, and how the data harmonizes with HRS studies in the U.S., India, China, Mexico, and Europe.


Memorial Workshop: John Briscoe’s Enduring Legacy Panel Discussion on Water, Sanitation and Poverty; Natural Resources and Environment; Population and Development Friday, October 23, 2015, 3:00–5:00 pm

The Harvard Pop Center was pleased to host a memorial workshop in honor of the late John Briscoe, who served as director of the Harvard Water Security Initiative, an interdisciplinary program for graduate and undergraduate students. Briscoe also held professorships at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the School of Public Health, and the Harvard Kennedy School. A native of South Africa, he was a former Senior Water Advisor at the World Bank and Country Director for Brazil. In March of 2014, Briscoe won the Stockholm Water Prize, widely known as “the Nobel Prize of water,” for his “unparalleled contributions to global and local management of water – contributions covering vast thematic, geographic, and institutional environments – that have improved the lives and livelihoods of millions of people worldwide.” He provided “the world with tools for peaceful, productive, and equitable management of the Earth’s water resources.”


“The Disunited Kingdom in a Divided European Union” A conversation with Baroness Margaret Jay of Paddington Friday, October 2, 2015, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

Special guest Baroness Margaret Jay of Paddington visited the Pop Center for a discussion of British politics, the European migrant crisis, and the threatened stability of the continent’s long-established institutions. This past year has seen a double challenge to governments in Europe. In the United Kingdom, the surge of Scottish nationalism has left London politicians facing the possibility of a referendum that would sever Scotland from the UK.  Meanwhile, across the European Union, twenty eight countries struggle to find ways to handle the massive influx of new refugees and economic migrants. In both these cases, proposed solutions have provoked sharp disagreement and tensions between political leaders. Will these acute, serious problems undermine Europe’s collective ability to play a role in the global issues of security and development?


Workshop on how to access and use the datasets from Work, Family & Health Network (WFHN) study, the 2015 annual meeting of the Population Association of America (PAA), San Diego, CA April 29, 2015

This hands-on workshop, sponsored by the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, the Work, Family & Health Network, and the National Institute of Aging, provided participants with an overview of the randomized, controlled trial conducted by this research network, and introduced participants to the data collected from this trial, with a focus on the newly available survey data. This seminar was aimed at advanced graduate students and researchers from colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations.


“Marriage Markets and the Gender Gap Reversal in Education: Global Trends and the Case of India” with Professor Albert Esteve, PhD, Director, Center for Demographic Studies, Autonomous University of Barcelona Tuesday, April 2, 2015

The special lecture was co-sponsored by the Harvard Sociology department, and the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, and took place in William James Hall 501.


“What Shapes Health?” A Harvard T.H. Chan School Forum Webcast with Lisa Berkman March 3, 2015

Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman was on the panel of a Forum webcast presented by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and NPR. In addition to providing experts’ perspectives on what factors impact health, the panel discussed the public’s perception of who gets sick and why.

The webcast is available now for viewing.


“Genomic Research on Cardiometabolic Diseases in Africa: An H3Africa Consortium Project,” with Dr. Michèle Ramsay, Director, Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (SBIMB), and Professor, Division of Human Genetics, National Health Laboratory Service, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg Wednesday, January 28, 2015 


“Solar Lighting and Inclusive Growth in India,” with Ranganayakulu Bodavala, PhD, (Ranga) November 14, 2014

Hailing from an agricultural family and from a village in India, Ranga is interested in simple technologies that make the life of women and children better, safe and productive. He founded THRIVE (Volunteers for Rural Health, Education, and Information Technology) and a commercial company Thrive Energy Technologies Pvt. Ltd. to pioneer the development and deployment of portable Solar LED home lights in India, Africa, and Latin America through continuous improvements in materials, cost reduction, improved functional benefits and financial modeling. Learn more about the event.


The Harvard Pop Center at 50 – April 28 and 29, 2014

To mark its 50th anniversary, the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies hosted a number of events, including a reception, a celebratory dinner, and a symposium. We also produced a special issue of Bow Street Bulletin and collected memories from former fellows.


Women and Health:  A Cause of Optimism?” A special lecture by Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Director, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The over-arching theme of this special lecture focused on the Sustainable Development Goals after 2015, with attention to new movements within reproductive health, the gender dimensions of universal health coverage, experiences from HIV, and emerging pandemics such as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). This event was sponsored by the Women, Gender, and Health (WGH) Interdisciplinary Concentration, Harvard School of Public Health. Co-Sponsors included: Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies; Harvard Global Health Institute; Harvard School of Public Health Women & Health Initiative; and the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology


“Women, Work and Health: In Need of a Redesign” Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The life expectancy of American women has been stalled at the same level for the last 40 years. The United States ranks lowest among industrialized countries in life expectancy of both men and women. The growing ranks of American women in the labor force enjoy fewer social supports than women in other industrialized countries. These pressing issues took center stage at a panel hosted by the Pop Center and held at the New York Academy of Medicine. The provocative discussion addressed current workplace practices and labor policies flexible work schedules, childcare challenges, and supervisor attitudes among othersthat clearly impact the health and well-being of employees and their families. Key speakers included:

  • Lisa Berkman, PhD, Director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and a principal investigator of The Work, Family & Health Network
  • Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, President of The New York Academy of Medicine
  • Karen Kornbluh , most recently U.S. Ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris
  • Pat Milligan, President of Mercer’s North America region and a member of the company’s executive committee.

Sustainability, Nations, Globalization: Can We Have Them All?” A special lecture by Joel E. Cohen, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor, Laboratory of Populations, Rockefeller University – Wednesday, October 3, 2012

cohen2imageSummary: Whatever sustainability means, it includes protecting Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological environments locally and globally for time periods of human concern, subject to natural variability. National governments usually view their primary responsibilities as lying within their own boundaries on the time scales of the next election cycle or, at most, the education of the next generation. Global businesses look for resources and markets wherever they offer economic advantage to globally dispersed stockholders and management in time for the next quarterly report or the next annual meeting of stockholders, or (rarely) over the coming decade. Since 1820, aggregate economic activity grew more than 74-fold, and now the material inputs and outputs of economic activity have magnitudes comparable to what Earth can yield and absorb. Some scientists warn of possible abrupt changes in vital Earth systems. Half of today’s 7 billion people remain poor. Billions more people and massive urbanization and aging are in prospect in the coming decades. In this new world, it is time to create the information, incentives and institutions needed to reconcile environmental sustainability, national governance, and economic globalization. The talk was open to everyone on October 3 from 4:00–5:30 pm at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government at Bell Hall in the Belfer Building Room 503, 79 John F. Kennedy Street in Cambridge, and was co-sponsored by the Sustainability Science Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


“Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone,” authored by  Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Media, Culture, and Communications at New York University – April 17, 2012

eric_klinenberg_portrait2011The Pop Center welcomed Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Media, Culture, and Communications at New York University, who spoke on the topic of his newly released book. He discussed the dramatic rise of solo living and the seismic impact it’s having on our culture, business, and politics. Conventional wisdom tells us that living by oneself leads to loneliness and isolation, but, as Klinenberg showed, most solo dwellers are deeply engaged in social and civic life. In fact, compared with their married counterparts, they are more likely to eat out and exercise, go to art and music classes, attend public events and lectures, and volunteer. It is now more common for an American adult to live alone than in a nuclear family, and Klinenberg analyzed the challenges and opportunities for singletons at different stages of life: young professionals who pay higher rent for the freedom and privacy of their own apartments; singles in their thirties and forties who refuse to compromise their career or lifestyle for an unsatisfying partner; divorced men and women who no longer believe that marriage is a reliable source of happiness or stability; and the elderly, most of whom prefer living by themselves to living with friends or their children.


“Living Forward, Understanding Backward: Transforming Public Health in the 21st Century,” with  David Butler-Jones, MD, LLD, Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada – April 2, 2012

david-butler-jones2The Pop Center was pleased to co-sponsor the Harvard Canada Seminar featuring David Butler-Jones, MD, LL.D., Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada. As Canada’s first Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Butler-Jones provides leadership on the government’s efforts to protect and promote the health and safety of Canadians. He has worked in many parts of Canada in both public health and clinical medicine, as well as consulting in a number of other countries. He is a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, and is an associate clinical professor at the University of Saskatchewan. He has also been involved as a researcher in a broad range of public health issues. From 1995 to 2002, Dr. Butler-Jones was chief medical health officer for the Province of Saskatchewan and executive director of the population health and primary health services branches for the province.

The Harvard Canada Seminar is an annual event offered through the Harvard Canada Program at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.


“A World of 7 Billion: Matters Arising,”  with Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund October 12, 2011

2011_oct_12_1284_smallThis fall, the Pop Center hosted Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, a former Senior Visiting Fellow at the Pop Center and Minister of Health of Nigeria, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund.  At the event, Dr. Osotimehin spoke about world population growth patterns and their linkages to other challenges facing humanity, including poverty reduction, urban pollution, energy production, food and water scarcity, and health.  With the world’s population surpassing 7 billion, Dr. Osotimehin also described what can be done to ensure a sustainable future in the face of this rapid growth. Please see the full article in the Harvard Gazette on Dr. Osotimehin’s visit!


“Production/Reproduction: Women’s Well Being across the Globe” –  May 20, 2011

motherThis event sought to bring together leading scholars to explore the relationship between labor policies and population health, with a particular eye toward the productive and reproductive lives of women and assess whether there are common issues across low, middle and high income countries. A number of articles were distributed to workshop participants in advance:


“Epidemiology and the People’s Health” (Book Signing and Reception) –  March 9, 2011

The Center hosted a special book signing celebration of the publication Epidemiology and the People’s Health: Theory and Context authored by Nancy Krieger, PhD, Professor of Society, Human Development and Health, HSPH. In this book, Krieger traces the history and contours of epidemiologic theory from ancient societies on through the development of—and debates within—contemporary epidemiology worldwide. Outlining an eco-social theory of disease distribution that situates population health and epidemiologic theory in societal and ecologic context, this book offers a more holistic view of how we embody the human experience.


“The Pregnancy Intentions of HIV-Positive Women: Forwarding the Research Agenda” –  March 17-19, 2010

Co-sponsored by the Pop Center, this event brought together a multidisciplinary group from six continents engaged in HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive  health and rights work. This conference report synthesizes current knowledge and discussions related to the four conference themes and five cross-cutting issues, identifies points of consensus and points of departure amongst participants, highlights suggestions for promoting multidisciplinary research in identified areas, and concludes with recommendations for future research.


Social Determinants of Global Population Health Conference – January 15 & 16, 2010

The Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies hosted a conference entitled Social Determinants of Global Population Health, co-sponsored by the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, the Harvard Initiative for Global Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America. Government officials and academic and foundation leaders from Brazil, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Uganda, United Kingdom, and the U.S. convened to develop tangible next steps to reducing health inequalities around the globe and to translate public health and social science research into effective practice and policy. It represented a unique and timely opportunity to build on the recommendations in the 2008 WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health Final Report and the 2009 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America Report. Key speakers included:

  • Lisa Berkman, Director, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is an internationally-recognized social epidemiologist whose work focuses extensively on social and policy influences on health outcomes. Presentation available here.
  • Julio Frenk, Dean of the Faculty and T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Frenk is an eminent authority on global health who served as the Minister of Health of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. He pursued an ambitious agenda to reform the nation’s health system, with an emphasis on redressing social inequality.
  • Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the International Institute for Society and Health, and MRC Research Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College, London. Dr. Marmot was Chair of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health from 2005 to 2008. Hehas led a research group on health inequalities for the past 30 years. He is Principal Investigator of the Whitehall Studies of British civil servants, investigating explanations for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality. He leads the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and is engaged in several international research efforts on the social determinants of health. He chairs the Department of Health Scientific Reference Group on tackling health inequalities. He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years and is an honorary fellow of the British Academy.

This event was made possible by generous gifts from Seth and Sarah Glickenhaus; Ambika Collins and Phyllis Collins; The Dillon Fund; and The Clarence and Anne Dillon Dunwalke Trust


Frameworks, questions, & studies: a Latin American/North American exploratory workshop on investigating societal determinants of health inequities between & within countries October 22 and 23, 2009

The goal of this workshop was to: bring together a small group of public health professionals from throughout the Americas who are interested in exploring: (a) different frameworks for analyzing cross- and within- country/region health inequities, (b) the kinds of theoretical and empirical questions that consequently would be useful to ask, and (c) what data are or are not available to answer these questions; build awareness of potentials for cross-country/region collaborations, in relation to both possible investigators and possible data resources; and help set the basis for a 2010 joint regional meeting of the International Epidemiologic Association (IEA), to be held in Latin America, that will be co-organized by two of the workshop attendants: Maria Inês Schmidt (for the Latin American IEA region) and Nancy Krieger (for the North American IEA region).


“Social Capital and Health: Cross-Country Comparative Perspectives” –  June 19 & 20, 2009

This international symposium sought to bring together researchers conducting research on social capital and health in Japan, USA, the UK, India, and Latin America to share cross-national and inter-disciplinary perspectives. The 2-day symposium focused on strengthening causal inference in empirical research linking social capital to health outcomes, and highlighting emerging directions for research, with an outcome of launching cross-country collaborations and discussing a possible book-length project.