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Alumni News Fall 2021

Alumni News from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health starting with a note from the class of 1958.
September 28, 2021
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6 min
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Fall 2021


David Soricelli, MPH, died on May 28 at 95. He had a distinguished career with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, first as director of the Division of Dental Health, then as deputy commissioner of health for community health services. He was president of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry in 1971 and president of the American Board of Dental Public Health in 1974, and directed the Philadelphia portion of the Legionnaires’ disease investigation in 1976. He was the recipient of many honors, including the American Association of Public Health Dentistry’s Distinguished Service Award and the Myron Allukian Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association for Community Dental Programs.


Donald Hopkins, MPH, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Medical Sciences degree by Yale University in May. One of the foremost experts in disease eradication, Hopkins was instrumental to the successful global effort to eradicate smallpox and now leads the charge to eradicate Guinea worm disease. As special adviser to the Carter Center in Atlanta, he is guiding former President Jimmy Carter’s work on this parasitic infection, known as “the fiery serpent,” which has afflicted millions of people around the world. In July, the Carter Center established the Dr. Donald R. Conference Room at its headquarters in recognition of his accomplishments, and his role as a “mentor to many, inspiration to all, and an irrepressible font of optimism.”


J. M. Yolène Vaval Suréna, MPH, died on May 28 from complications of COVID-19. She was 68. Suréna received an Alumni Award of Merit from the Harvard Chan School in 2011 for her work as a public health leader in Haiti. A physician, she also served during her career as professor of community health at the University of Haiti, director of the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Civil Protection, and in leadership roles with the Haitian Medical Association, World Bank’s Emergency Recovery and Disaster Risk Management Project, and the Haitian Red Cross. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Suréna cared for patients in a makeshift outdoor triage center at her home. She was later asked by the government to coordinate all services and hospitals in Port au Prince, including the influx of organizations from all over the world. She continued to assist with ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts in her position with the Ministry of the Interior and as an adviser to the Ministry of Health.

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John Whyte, MPH, wrote the book Take Control of Your Cancer Risk: A WebMD Essential Guide (Harper Horizon, 2021). It offers information and strategies around cancer risk and screenings, and the role of diet, exercise, and sleep, among other topics. Whyte is chief medical officer of WebMD.


Benita McLarin, SM, has been working as the director of health and human services in Marin County, California, for the past two years, including the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic. She reported that as of June, more than 90 percent of those over age 12 in her county had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. McLarin recently received a 2021 Women in Business Award from North Bay Business Journal.


Nicholas Horton, SD, the Beitzel Professor of Technology and Society (Statistics and Data Science) in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Amherst College, was elected vice president of the American Statistical Association. His term will begin on January 1, 2022.


Prathibha Varkey, MPH, became president of Mayo Clinic Health System on August 16. She is board certified in internal medicine and general preventive medicine and previously practiced medicine at the Mayo Clinic for 11 years. During her tenure, she led several initiatives in quality improvement, faculty development, and medical education. Varkey left the Mayo Clinic in 2013 to serve as CEO of Seton Clinical Enterprise in Austin, Texas. Since 2016, she has been president and CEO of Northeast Medical Group within Yale New Haven Health.


Colleen Barry, PhD, became the inaugural dean of the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy on September 15. She also was appointed a professor at the school. Barry previously was the Fred and Julie Soper Professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and founding director of the school’s Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy and StigmaLab. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Barry has served as co-chair of the Forum on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and as a board member and vice president for the Association of Public Policy and Management.


Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds, MPH, was named in June to the newly created position of vice president and chief health equity officer at Indiana University Health. She also was named associate dean for health equity research at Indiana University School of Medicine, where she is an associate professor.


Melody Goodman, PhD, is the inaugural winner of the Caucus for Women in Statistics (CWS) Societal Impact Award. She was recognized for “outstanding dedication to improving health disparities through education in public health and data literacy.” Goodman is the associate dean for research and associate professor of biostatistics at the School of Global Public Health at New York University. The award was presented during the CWS reception on August 9 at the virtual Joint Statistical Meetings.


Jasmine Hall, SM, an epidemiologist and native of Flint, Michigan, has been working on the recovery effort for the city’s water crisis. She is a member of the Black Millennials 4 Flint EJ Griot Project and health chair of the Flint NAACP. She was part of efforts in the city to mark the seventh anniversary of the crisis in April, which included sending an open letter to government officials and organizing a public event.


Jirayut Latthivongskorn, MPH, was a joint recipient of the 2021 Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare. Announced in June, the award recognizes outstanding immigrant health care professionals. Latthivongskorn, a resident physician at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, was a plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case regarding DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy) in 2019. He was recognized for leadership in establishing Pre-Health Dreamers, an organization that provides information and resources to young immigrants who want to pursue higher education and careers in health care, and for advocacy in support of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

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