Speaker bios

Photo of Larry BacowLawrence S. Bacow
29th President of Harvard University

One of higher education’s most widely experienced leaders, President Bacow is committed to supporting scholarship and research, encouraging civic engagement, and expanding opportunity for all. From 2001 to 2011, he was president of Tufts University, where he fostered collaboration and advanced the university’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and public service. Prior to Tufts, he spent 24 years on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he held the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professorship of Environmental Studies and served as Chair of the Faculty (1995-97) and as Chancellor (1998-2001).

An expert on non-adjudicatory approaches to the resolution of environmental disputes, President Bacow received an S.B. in economics from MIT, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in public policy from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to his election to the Harvard presidency in February 2018, he served as a member of the Harvard Corporation (2011-18), a Hauser Leader-in-Residence at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2014-18), and a President-in-Residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (2011-14).

President Bacow was raised in Pontiac, Michigan, by parents who were both immigrants. He and his wife, Adele Fleet Bacow, were married in 1975 and have two adult sons.

Photo of Michelle WilliamsMichelle A. Williams, ScD
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School

Michelle A. Williams, SM ’88, ScD ’91, is Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development, a joint faculty appointment at the Harvard Chan School and Harvard Kennedy School. She is an internationally renowned epidemiologist and public health scientist, an award-winning educator, and a widely recognized academic leader. 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. Dean Williams previously had a distinguished career at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Her scientific work places special emphasis in the areas of reproductive, perinatal, pediatric, and molecular epidemiology. Dean Williams has published over 450 scientific articles. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2016. The Dean has a master’s in civil engineering from Tufts University and master’s and doctoral degrees in epidemiology from the Harvard Chan School.

Photo of Caroline BuckeeCaroline Buckee, DPhil
Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Associate Director, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Co-founder, COVID-19 Mobility Data Network and CrisisReady

Caroline Buckee is associate professor of epidemiology and associate director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is also co-founder of the COVID-19 Mobility Data Network and CrisisReady (crisisready.io). Her work is focused on understanding the mechanisms driving the spread of infectious diseases that impact the most vulnerable populations worldwide, particularly malaria. Before coming to Harvard, Buckee completed a DPhil at the University of Oxford and Omidyar and Wellcome Trust fellowships at the Santa Fe Institute and the Kenya Medical Research Institute, respectively, where she analyzed malaria parasite evolution and epidemiology. Buckee’s group uses a range of mathematical models, experimental and genomic data, and “big data” from mobile phones and satellites to understand how human pathogens spread and may be controlled. Her work has appeared in high-profile scientific journals such as Science and PNAS, as well as featured in the popular press, including CNN, The New Scientist, Voice of America, NPR, and ABC. Buckee was featured as one of MIT Tech Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35, a CNN Top 10: Thinker, and Foreign Policy Magazine’s 100 Global Thinkers.

Photo of Joe AllenJoseph G. Allen, DSc, MPH
Associate Professor of Exposure Assessment Science; Director, Healthy Buildings Program; and Deputy Director, Harvard Center for Education and Research on Occupational Health and Safety, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Joseph G. Allen is associate professor of exposure assessment science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the School’s Healthy Buildings program. He is also co-author of the book “Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity.” He began his career conducting forensic health investigations of sick buildings and continues to work across a diverse range of industries, including health care, biotechnology, education, finance, law, commercial office real estate, and manufacturing. He is also a certified industrial hygienist and deputy director of the Harvard Center for Education and Research on Occupational Health and Safety.

Allen is an internationally renowned expert on the topic of healthy buildings, and his work has been featured widely in the popular press, including the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, National Geographic, Time, NPR, Newsweek, Washington Post, New York Times, and Fortune. His research has also been published in numerous academic journals, and he serves as associate editor for Indoor Air and the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

A leading voice in the response to COVID-19, Allen is an expert member of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission and is principal investigator of three large studies examining transmission risk in buildings. He has been advising CEOs across major sectors of the economy, including health care, academia, finance, media, manufacturing, courts, prisons, shelters, and the arts. He has also been translating the science into actionable tips for the business community and the general public, publishing more than 10 op-eds in leading newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Financial Times, and STAT.

Allen has been involved with infectious-disease research and control strategies for more than 12 years. He was the lead investigator for several Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in major U.S. hospitals, responsible for testing, assessing risk, and developing control strategies. For eight years, he conducted research through the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Center of Excellence for Airliner Cabin Environmental Research program. And he has published peer-reviewed papers on the influence of humidity on risk from influenza, upper-respiratory illness in dormitories using university electronic medical health records, and modeling how building factors can reduce measles risk in schools.

Allen earned his doctor of science and master of public health degrees from the Boston University School of Public Health and a bachelor of science degree in biology from Boston College.

Photo of John MacomberJohn D. Macomber, MBA ’83
Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

John Macomber is a senior lecturer in the Finance unit at Harvard Business School (HBS). His professional background includes leadership of real estate, construction, and information technology businesses. He is co-author of the book “Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity.” At HBS, Macomber’s work focuses on the future of cities, particularly as aided by the private finance and delivery of public infrastructure projects in both the developed and emerging worlds. His teaching combines infrastructure finance (including public–private partnerships), investing in resilience (notably in the face of sea rise in some areas and drought in others), economic development, and the impact of new technologies in delivering new infrastructure and making old infrastructure more efficient.

Macomber is faculty chair of the HBS Africa Research Center. He is also engaged in the Business and Environment Initiative and Social Enterprise Initiatives at HBS and is a member of the executive committee of the Harvard University Center for African Studies. He teaches finance, real estate, urbanization, and entrepreneurship courses in the elective curriculum and in executive education.

Macomber is the former chair and CEO of the George B H Macomber Company, a large regional general contractor, and remains a principal in several real estate partnerships. He serves or has served on the boards of Young Presidents Organization International, Boston Private Bank, Mount Auburn Hospital, and the WGBH Educational Foundation. Macomber graduated from Dartmouth College (mathematics in the social sciences) and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Photo of Juliette KayyemJuliette Kayyem, AB ’91, JD ’95
Belfer Senior Lecturer in International Security; Faculty Director, Homeland Security Project; and Faculty Director, Security and Global Health Project, Harvard Kennedy School

Juliette Kayyem has spent the last two decades in both state and federal government managing complex policy initiatives and organizing government responses to major crises. Kayyem is currently the Belfer Senior Lecturer in International Security at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she is faculty chair of the Homeland Security and Security and Global Health projects. She previously served as President Obama’s assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, where she played a pivotal role in major operations responding to the BP oil spill and H1N1 pandemic.

As the majority of Americans are at home socially distancing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kayyem has become the face of tough-love crisis management: she will tell people what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear. In the process, she is advising mayors, governors, and CEOs; laying out a path forward for readers of her columns in The Atlantic; informing millions of viewers on CNN, where she serves as a national security analyst; and teaching her many Twitter followers about the “preparedness paradox” and the need to understand a basic truth of this crisis: “Reality bites, but it is all we got.”

A Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial columns, Kayyem foreshadowed today’s reality in her 2016 best-selling book “Security Mom”: “In the struggle for resiliency, there is no finish line. There is only a plan, and a whole lot of learning, followed by a new and better plan.” Kayyem helps the public understand the “adaptive recovery” of this global pandemic and reminds people regularly that the “now normal” will be a new, different one.

Photo of Sara BleichSara Bleich, PhD ’07
Professor of Public Health Policy, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Sara Bleich is a professor of public health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management. She is also the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a member of the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research provides evidence to support policies to prevent obesity and diet-related diseases, particularly among populations at higher risk.

Bleich has received several awards for her work, including one for excellence in public interest communication. As a White House Fellow (2015–2016), she was a senior policy adviser to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the first lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. Bleich is currently an appointed member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Obesity Solutions. She holds a BA in psychology from Columbia University and a PhD in health policy from the Harvard Chan School.

Photo of Rick SiegristRichard B. Siegrist Jr., MS, MBA 82
Faculty Director, Doctor of Public Health Program; Director, Master in Health Care Management Program; Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and Senior Lecturer on Health Care Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Richard Siegrist is senior lecturer on health care management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he teaches physician, graduate, and executive education courses on financial management, cost accounting, management control, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He is also faculty director of the doctor of public health (DrPH) program, director of the master in health care management program for physicians, and director of innovation and entrepreneurship for the Harvard Chan School. In addition, he teaches in the program for chairs of clinical services and the leadership strategies for evolving health care executives program. He received the School’s Roger L. Nichols Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008.

Siegrist was previously CEO and chief innovation officer of Press Ganey Associates, in South Bend, Indiana, a leading patient satisfaction and performance improvement company in health care. Prior to joining Press Ganey, he was founder, president, and chief executive officer of PatientFlow Technology, a provider of patient flow consulting and software solutions to hospitals, which was acquired by Press Ganey in January 2009.

Earlier, Siegrist co-founded and served as president and chief executive officer of HealthShare Technology Inc., a health information company that provided decision support software and tools to hospitals, health plans, employers, and consultants. WebMD acquired the company in March 2005, and Siegrist served as senior vice president of WebMD Health Services and senior vice president and general manager of WebMD Quality Services. In addition, he co-founded Transition Systems, Inc. (TSI), a for-profit subsidiary of Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston that later became part of Eclipsys/Allscripts. TSI was a leading provider of hospital cost accounting and decision support software.

Siegrist has received two U.S. patents with his brother Donald: #5,652,842 for “Analysis and Reporting of Performance of Service Providers” and #9,141,757 for “Performance Data User Interface.” He is also co-author of “MBA for Healthcare” (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Siegrist began his career in health care at New England Medical Center in Boston. He serves as chair of the board of trustees and chair of the governance committee for UMass Memorial Health Care and as a board member and chair of the finance committee for Massachusetts Health Quality Partners. Siegrist holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MS in accounting from the New York University Graduate School of Business, and a BA in political economy from Williams College. He is also a certified public accountant.