August 12, 2021 – The Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Alumni Association recently announced the recipients of the 2021 Alumni Awards, chosen by their peers through a nomination and voting process. Below are excerpts from the biographies of this year’s winners. The awards will be presented during this year’s Virtual Alumni Week, from September 27 to October 2.
ALUMNI AWARD OF MERIT
Established in 1992, the Alumni Award of Merit is the highest award presented by the Alumni Association to a Harvard Chan School alumna.
Paula A. Johnson AB ’80, MD ’84, MPH ’85
President, Wellesley College
Throughout her three-decade career, Paula A. Johnson has worked to improve the health, education and well-being of women around the world. Her research has focused on uncovering and dismantling gender bias in women’s health and the sciences, and her work has led to a paradigm shift in the way medicine is practiced.
Johnson spent much of her career at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she was the first black physician to serve as chief physician and the first black physician to be promoted to professor. She also founded the Center for Cardiovascular Disease in Women and the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology and led the hospital and chaired the Division of Women’s Health. She was chair of the Boston Public Health Commission for nearly a decade.
Johnson is currently the 14th president of Wellesley College, where she oversaw the development of new opportunities for women and minorities in STEM fields.
Lois B. Travis, MD, SM ’82, SD ’94
Lawrence H. Einhorn Professor of Cancer Research; Director, Cancer Survivorship Research Program, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
Lois B. Travis is an advocate for lowering the cost of healing for cancer survivors. To this end, she helped establish the field of cancer survival and is currently the director of the Cancer Survivorship Research Program at Indiana University. With a broad academic background in medicine, pathology, epidemiology and translational genomics, Travis has helped develop safety protocols for cancer treatments, helped patients prevent second cancers, and improved the lives of countless cancer survivors.
At Indiana University, Travis and her colleagues are evaluating therapy-related toxicities with the goal of developing translational research that directly benefits human health. Her research can be attributed to establishing the importance of second malignant neoplasms in cancer survivors and defining much of the field’s understanding of dose-response relationships with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Travis is a recipient of the National Cancer Institute’s Public Health Service Outstanding Service Medal.
Stefan N. Willich, MD, MPH ’90, MBA
Director, Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
Stefan Willich is an internist, epidemiologist, musician and public health advocate. Since 1995, he has been a professor and director of the Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, one of Germany’s most research-intensive medical institutions, which during his tenure has grown into one of the world’s leading epidemiological research centers. The institute, located at the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, translates many of its research results in the field of preventive medicine into clinical practice, and the preventive outpatient clinic founded by Willich in Charité has become a model throughout Europe.
Willich’s research has documented the efficacy of traditional and complementary health practices and promoted their use alongside conventional medical treatments. An advocate of integrative medicine and a recognized leader in this field, he founded the European Society of Integrative Medicine, was the first editor of the European Journal of Integrative Medicine and hosted the first World Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health.
EMERGING PROFESSIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH AWARD
Hilary Marston MD, MPH ’13
Director for Global COVID-19 Response at the White House COVID-19 Response Team
Hilary Marston has devoted her career to protecting public health on a global scale as a policy advisor on infectious diseases. She joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 2013, where she played a key role in developing and organizing U.S. responses to the Ebola and Zika outbreaks.
In early 2020, Marston became a key figure in coordinating COVID-19 activities for NIAID and the National Institutes of Health. She was also a major contributor to Operation Warp Speed, the government initiative to accelerate COVID-19 vaccines, therapies and diagnostics. In January 2021, Marston joined the U.S. National Security Council as director for medical and biodefense preparedness. Since May, she has served as director of global COVID-19 response on the White House’s COVID-19 response team. In this role, she leads the administration’s work in the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, including overseeing domestic supply sharing and large-scale vaccine procurement for international donation.
LEADERSHIP AWARD IN PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE
Kezevino (Vinu) Aram, MD, MPH ’00
Chairman, Shanti Ashram; Founder, International Center for Child and Public Health (ICPH)
Over the course of her three-decade career, Kezevino Aram has worked to protect, improve and advance some of the world’s most at-risk populations, with a particular focus on children in her native India. Her work focuses primarily on promoting children’s health, addressing health inequalities, alleviating poverty and promoting social cohesion through active peacebuilding and interfaith dialogue.
Aram joined Shanti Ashram, an international center for development, learning and collaboration two decades ago, and became its president in 2014. vulnerable children to nearly 70,000 children and their families in more than 100 villages today.
In 2017, Aram founded the International Center for Child and Public Health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was a member of the Government of Tamil Nadu’s Expert Committee with the Health and Child Protection Policy Mandate.
PUBLIC HEALTH INNOVATOR AWARD
Jocelyn Lehrer SM ‘01, SD ‘04
Founder and Director, Men’s Story Project; public health and gender justice advisor
Jocelyn Lehrer is a public health researcher and practitioner, storyteller, and social entrepreneur. For more than 20 years, her work around the world has focused on gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS prevention and control, and the promotion of healthy masculinity and gender equality. Her research has been published in Pediatrics and other leading journals. In 2008, Lehrer founded the Men’s Story Project, which helps campuses and organizations create and film live productions in which diverse men publicly share personal stories about ideas about masculinity.
Lehrer’s work also includes leading the first quantitative studies of on-campus sexual and dating violence in Chile, consulting social impact stories with MTV and UN Women, working with the USAID Office of HIV/AIDS, and facilitating social support groups for LGBTQ+ youth living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco. She is currently a senior advisor on gender integration at the Global Center for Gender Equality at Stanford University.
– Amy Roeder