Jamaican woman to head public health at Harvard University

February 23, 2016

Jamaicans are not just fast, creative or warm-spirited, they make very good public health professionals too.

Jamaica-born American epidemiologist, Michelle Williams, is to take over in July, as head of Public Health in one of the world's top universities, Harvard. 

Williams who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, migrated to New York with her family at age seven.

According to the Boston Globe, Williams will be the first black person to lead a graduate school at Harvard and the first woman to head the public health school.

Williams is excited about her new endeavour.

“I am honoured and excited by the opportunity to lead the Harvard Chan School, and grateful to President Faust for inviting me to serve in this role at such a crucial moment for public health in the United States and around the world,” Williams said.

She has won awards for teaching and mentoring from Harvard, the University of Washington, the American Public Health Association, and the White House.

“Michelle Williams is an eminent epidemiologist, an outstanding teacher and mentor, and an energising leader and institutional citizen, impassioned about the power of public health to change people’s lives for the better,” said Harvard President, Drew Faust in announcing the appointment.

Williams said she hopes to elevate understanding and appreciation of public health, a discipline she said “is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.”


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