Michelle A Williams
Primary Faculty

Michelle A Williams

Professor of Epidemiology



Other Positions

Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Global Health and Population

Global Health and Population

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Professor of Public Policy

Faculty Members

Harvard Kennedy School


Michelle A. Williams, SM ’88, ScD ’91, is a renowned epidemiologist, an award-winning educator, and a widely recognized academic leader. She recently stepped down as Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health after seven years, and is currently spending a sabbatical year as a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. Following her sabbatical, she will return to the Harvard Chan School as the Joan and Julius Jacobson Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health. Prior to becoming Dean, she was Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School and Program Leader of the Population Health and Health Disparities Research Programs at Harvard’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Center.

Dr. Williams previously had a distinguished career at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Her research places special emphasis in the areas of reproductive, perinatal, pediatric, and molecular epidemiology. Dr. Williams has published more than 520 scientific articles and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2016. In 2020, she was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and recognized by PR Week as one of the top 50 health influencers of the year. Dr. Williams has an undergraduate degree in biology and genetics from Princeton University, a master’s in civil engineering from Tufts University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in epidemiology from the Harvard Chan School.


Association between Ancestry-Specific 6q25 Variants and Breast Cancer Subtypes in Peruvian Women.

Zavala VA, Casavilca-Zambrano S, Navarro-Vásquez J, Castañeda CA, Valencia G, Morante Z, Calderón M, Abugattas JE, Gómez H, Fuentes HA, Liendo-Picoaga R, Cotrina JM, Monge C, Neciosup SP, Huntsman S, Hu D, Sánchez SE, Williams MA, Núñez-Marrero A, Godoy L, Hechmer A, Olshen AB, Dutil J, Ziv E, Zabaleta J, Gelaye B, Vásquez J, Gálvez-Nino M, Enriquez-Vera D, Vidaurre T, Fejerman L.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2022 08 02. 31(8):1602-1609. PMID: 35654312


Dismantling systemic racism in academic public health

Linda Alexander of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health urged schools of public health to work on dismantling systemic racism in their own communities and in society in general at Harvard Chan School's Yerby Lecture.

A hub for training better public health communicators

Amanda Yarnell, new senior director of the School’s Center for Health Communication, is refocusing the center on defining, teaching, and sharing best practices for communicating health information in a world that’s increasingly skeptical and fragmented.