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Votes must be received by noon on May 26.

Candidate profiles for President-Elect, Secretary, Councilors for the First, Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth Pentads are listed below. Click on a name (or scroll through the page) to read biographies and personal statements. You can also download each candidate's curriculum vitae.

Once you've selected one candidate per category, visit our secure site to cast your vote online »

Alumni Council Candidates



Councilor: First Pentad
(Classes of 2009–2013)

Councilor: Fourth Pentad
(Classes of 1994–1998)

Councilor: SeventhPentad
(Classes of 1974–1978)

Councilor: Eighth Pentad
(Classes of 1969–1973)

James J. O'Connell III


James J. O’Connell III, MD ’82
Charlestown, MA

President, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital


Dr. O’Connell earned an AB from the University of Notre Dame in 1970 and an MA in theology from Cambridge University in 1972. After teaching high school for two years in Hawaii, he briefly studied political philosophy and ethics with Hannah Arendt at the New School in New York City until her death in 1975. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1982 and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1985 and is now an Assistant Professor of Medicine at HMS. In 1985, Dr. O'Connell began fulltime clinical work with homeless individuals as the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, one of 19 projects nationwide funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. O’Connell is President of the program, which has grown to serve over 12,000 homeless persons each year in two hospital clinics (Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center) and over 70 shelters and soup kitchens throughout greater Boston.

In 1985, BHCHP started the nation’s first medical respite care unit for homeless persons with 25 beds in a local shelter.  In response to the growing demand, Dr. O’Connell moved the program to a former nursing home in Jamaica Plain in 1993, and moved again in 2008 to the former Mallory Institute of Pathology on the grounds of the former Boston City Hospital.  The Barbara McInnis House is now a 104-bed freestanding medical respite program that provides acute and sub-acute, pre- and post-operative, rehabilitative and recuperative, and palliative and end-of-life care for homeless men and women who would otherwise require costly hospitalizations. Working with the MGH Laboratory of Computer Science, Dr. O’Connell designed and implemented the nation’s first computerized medical record for a homeless program in 1995. Dr. O’Connell maintains a busy clinical practice working in an integrated medical and psychiatric team that cares for persons living on the streets of Boston, and continues to work closely with BHCHP’s staff and board of directors in strategic planning and with community and government relations.

From 1989 until 1996, Dr. O'Connell served as the National Program Director of the Homeless Families Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. O’Connell is the editor of The Health Care of Homeless Persons: A Manual of Communicable Diseases and Common Problems in Shelters and on the Streets, and an editor of A Practical Approach to Pulmonary Medicine. His articles have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Circulation, the Journal of Clinical Ethics, and several other medical journals. He was featured on ABC’s Nightline and is the subject of a full-length documentary entitled "Give Me a Shot of Anything." He has received numerous awards during his career, including the Trustees' Medal at MGH's bicentennial celebration in 2011 and the Humanitarian Award from the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship in 2012.


I am as surprised as deeply honored to be nominated as a candidate for President of the HMS Alumni Council. So many of you have become friends and colleagues since our first classes at HMS in 1978, and I still cherish those remarkable teachers who became our mentors, role models and ardent supporters. While our careers have diverged in ways splendid and unforeseen, the bond we shared during our time at HMS remains very special and the bedrock of my own professional life.

I am a clinician more hours a week than I like to admit, and still trying to find time to teach and sneak in a little research. I have found great joy in being a doctor, although the path I have taken has been a radical departure from my dreams of oncology. My practice focuses on those feisty, independent, and often exasperating individuals who live on Boston’s streets, often for decades. For myriad reasons, they eschew shelters and institutions and risk the extremes of weather to survive outside. The work is Sisyphean and progress often glacial as we struggle to cope with the sea changes in health care. While these rough sleepers are only a tiny fraction of our society, the attempt to care for them often gives us an early glimpse of the weaknesses in our mainstream health system. They have taught us that integrating medical care with psychiatry and addictions care is essential and our dependence on the remarkable specialists and care provided within our academic teaching hospitals cannot be understated. 

The career path for caring for underserved and vulnerable populations has been precarious within medicine. Yet we have been blessed by many visionaries at HMS and our remarkable hospitals who have nurtured the careers of so many of us and shown us the vital dependence of clinical, education and research that enriches all of us as well as the individuals and populations we seek to serve. I look forward to keeping alive this conversation as the world around us continues to change and we seek to prepare new students to embrace our chosen profession.  


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Rahul Sakhuja


Rahul Sakhuja, MD ’03, MPP ’03, SM ’09
Kingsport, TN

Interventional Cardiologist
Medical Director, Structural Heart Disease Program
Associate Director, Vascular Medicine/Endovascular Intervention
Wellmont CVA Heart Institute


Rahul Sakhuja, MD/MPP ’03 was born and raised in Lexington, MA. He earned his undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA. At Swarthmore, he was elected President of the student body and received the Karen Dvonch Steinmetz Award, one of the highest honors for scholarship and compassion. He majored in Biology, Psychology, and Public Policy.

He translated his triple major into a joint Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Policy at Harvard Medical School and the Kennedy School of Government. His thesis on the barriers to entry for generic pharmaceuticals in developing nations was used by ministries of health to try to improve access to antiretrovirals in nations with the highest burdens of HIV/AIDS. He earned the Gerald Foster Award at HMS for his contributions while a medical student.

Dr. Sakhuja completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. He started his fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and completed it at Massachusetts General Hospital/Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He earned a Master of Science in Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health during his final year of Cardiology fellowship. During his training, he received multiple teaching awards.

Dr. Sakhuja completed advanced fellowship training in Interventional Cardiology, followed by further fellowship in Vascular Medicine/Endovascular Intervention with additional training in Structural Heart Disease Intervention. With this background, he now serves on the American Board of Vascular Medicine, Endovascular Intervention committee.

With his background in health policy, health outcomes, and medicine, Dr. Sakhuja was struck by the significant cardiovascular disease burden in certain parts of the country and the lack of sufficient practitioners with advanced skills to address the need. With job offers in multiple major metropolitan centers, he started his career in Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia. Dr. Sakhuja currently serves as the Medical Director of the Structural Heart Program and the Associate Director of the Vascular Medicine/Endovascular Intervention Program at the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute. He established the Structural Heart Disease Program, leading it to be one of the fastest growing in the region.

Dr. Sakhuja remains committed to teaching. Physicians from around the country fly down to train with Dr. Sakhuja in advanced procedures. Dr. Sakhuja routinely travels around the country to help others develop programs in advanced procedures, such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

Dr. Sakhuja is academically active, presenting at multiple national meetings as well as publishing peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

He is married to Palak Shah, MPP ’09. They are enjoying life in the beautiful mountains of Tennessee.


I am honored to be nominated for President of the HMS Alumni Council. Having served on the Alumni Council from 2008-2011, and on the HMS Young Alumni Council, I am familiar with the inner workings and the possibilities of the Council.

Having practiced in academic and non-academic settings, as well as urban and rural settings, I have developed a broad and unique perspective on the diverse needs of Alumni. In all settings, however, technology has become crucial to how we obtain, use, and share information. As President, I would like to use technology to:

1. Publicize what the Council is doing and what it can and might do. Unfortunately, I fear many remain unclear on how the Alumni Council can benefit them or HMS. My focus as President of the HMS Alumni Council would be to help Alumni understand what the Council is doing as well as what it can and might do

2. Connect Alumni to each other and to HMS in meaningful social and professional ways that keep us at our best and maintain the prowess of HMS. A robust Alumni network should foster connection, collaboration, and mentorship for people throughout HMS. For Alumni who may be more isolated in their practice, having access to the resources of HMS (e.g. Countway, CME) may foster continued growth and contributions.

3. Develop a participatory system. Clearly, there are many more ideas than can be generated by one subset of Alumni. Ideally, the agenda of future Councils can be fashioned by increased interaction with you all.

During my initial term, I realized that my youth represented enthusiasm and new possibilities. I was eager for our Council to be an active participant in improving the lives of current students and Alumni. Some of seedlings that we planted are blossoming, such as finding ways to defray student indebtedness and developing a virtual community. I would like the Alumni Council to continue to grow as an active body rather than a passive advisor.


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Andre Churchwell


André Churchwell, MD ’79, FACC
Brentwood, TN

Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


Dr. Churchwell is the son of Robert and Mary Churchwell of Nashville, Tennessee. His family has a long relationship with Harvard, with one brother graduating from Harvard College and another finishing a Pediatric Residency at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Churchwell graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering (Magna Cum Laude) before matriculating into HMS.

After finishing HMS, Dr. Churchwell completed his residency in Internal Medicine and Cardiology under J. Willis Hurst, M.D., at Emory University Affiliated Hospital program. After serving as the first African-American Chief Medical Resident (1984-1985) at Grady Memorial Hospital he completed the first Nuclear Cardiology Fellowship at Emory and joined the faculty. While at Emory, he served as the first Minority Affairs Officer for Emory University School of Medicine (EUSM); was awarded a Harold Amos-Robert Wood Johnson Minority Faculty Development Award (1986) initiating a research program in coronary artery fluid mechanics with Georgia Institute of Technology; was part of the team to create and develop the Emory-Georgia Tech Biotechnology Research Center. In 1986, he was chosen as Honorary Class Member for the graduating classes of Emory University School of Medicine and Morehouse Medical School. Later, in 1991, Dr. Churchwell was named as the J.W. Hurst, M.D., Clinical Teacher of the Year Award. Further, in 2004, at the Emory University Alumni Week, Dr. Churchwell was awarded the first Emory University School of Medicine Medical Resident Alumnus Award. This award was given for noteworthy academic and citizenry efforts during his residency and subsequent training years.

Dr. Churchwell returned to Nashville, Tennessee in 1991 and re-established a relationship with Vanderbilt. Given his record of success at Emory, he was asked to assume the role as Associate Dean for Diversity in Graduate Medical Education (GME) and Faculty Affairs, to address the lack of a codified plan to increase URM representation in their GME programs and faculty. Dr. Churchwell crafted a unique institutional plan that has contributed to a marked rise in both URM numbers in GME programs and clinical faculty. He has occupied a leadership role at the AAMC, serving in the role of Southeast Diversity and Inclusion Representative (2010-2012).

He has continued publishing in the Cardiology literature and recently served on the editorial board of the Biomedical Engineering Society's Cardiovascular and Engineering Technology Journal. Dr. Churchwell has also served as a reviewer for major cardiovascular journals (e.g., Journal of the American College of Cardiology).

Dr. Churchwell has continued teaching medical students and residents at Vanderbilt and has co-created a new course for Biomedical Engineering (BME) Design students-Saturday BME Grand Rounds. This seminar/course presents senior students with a design problem brought by a clinical team and assists the students in formulating at least 2-3 possible solutions in a 2-hour ideation process. He has received awards (2012 and 2013) for his mentorship from Vanderbilt medical students and was awarded the Walter R. Murray Jr. Distinguished Alumnus Award (2005) by Vanderbilt Alumni and more recently, was awarded the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award (2010).


I am honored to be nominated for the position of Secretary of The Alumni Council. Looking back over my thirty-five years since graduating from HMS, the road taken has placed me in a unique position to serve our medical school. I applied to HMS because I harbored the idea that it had the “something” to enable me to reach my full potential in both my desire to be a superb physician and position me for a leadership role in medicine. Many schools are currently developing leadership courses with the idea that given reduced funding and public respect for doctors, medicine will need transformative leaders if it is to fulfill its needed roles in service to mankind in both patient care and research. With such ongoing stressors on academic medicine, the nation needs HMS to lead more than ever. It is for this reason, I feel that a “hybrid” career such as mine may have added benefit: (1) Member of two medical school faculties; (2) In private practice for ten years leading a large cardiology practice; (3) Holding leadership positions in building a conjoint program between two disparate universities such as Emory and Georgia tech; (4) Building a diversity plan to address the lack of underrepresented groups in large independent silos—graduate medical education and faculty development.

It is from these experiences and my recent interest in medical humanities (published pieces in Pharos and The Yale Journal of Medical Humanities), that I will offer unique perspectives for this new role at HMS.


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Andrea E. Reid


Andrea E. Reid, MD ’88, MPH ’01
Silver Spring, MD

Physician, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Section;
Program Director, Gastroenterology Training, Washington, DC, VA Medical Center


Andrea Reid is a native of Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from Brown University in 1984, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelors of Science with Honors in Psychology. She attended Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1988, and then trained in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Reid completed her clinical and research training at MGH in 1996 and joined the faculty.

During her tenure at MGH, Dr. Reid co-chaired the Internship Selection Committee for the Department of Medicine (1996-2001), was associate director of the Multicultural Affairs Office (1996-2009), co-chair of the Graduate Medical Education (GME) 2015 task force for Partners HealthCare, and was the program director for Gastroenterology (2004-2009). She was Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, and served as GI pathophysiology lecturer and mentor to many medical students. She earned a Master's in Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health in 2000, and performed clinical research in hepatitis C and racial disparities in liver transplantation, resulting in several publications. In addition, Dr. Reid contributed many hours to the greater Boston community, speaking in public schools, churches, and at community events, where she encouraged students to stay in school, pursue their dreams, consider careers in STEM and Medicine, and "lift as they climb." Dr. Reid was honored with several awards in recognition of her commitment to teaching and mentorship at HMS, MGH and in the community.

In 2009, Dr. Reid relocated to Washington, DC. She is the program director for gastroenterology at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center, where she oversees the VA-based GI training for medical residents and GI fellows from Georgetown, George Washington, and Washington Hospital Center. She is acting associate chief of GI and serves on the Research and Development Committee. Dr. Reid’s clinical and research interests are hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, especially in African Americans, racial disparities in liver disease and liver transplantation, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and medical education. She continues to teach in the GI pathophysiology block at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Reid served for five years as member and chair of the GI Training Examination (GTE) for the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). She has also been a member of the Manpower and Training, Public Policy and Advocacy, and Nominating Committees of the AGA, and chaired the AGA Task Force on Under-represented Minorities. She served on the Education and Clinical Research Committees of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD). Dr. Reid is an executive committee member of the ACGME Internal Medicine Residency Review Committee (RRC), and is a member of the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation, which evaluates the accreditation standards for foreign countries that seek to provide medical education to American students. She is a frequent lecturer at local, regional and national GI meetings and postgraduate courses.

Dr. Reid is married to Dr. Karl Reid, Senior Vice President for Academic Programs and Strategic Initiatives for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and is the proud mother of three children.


I am honored to be nominated to serve as Secretary of the HMS Alumni Council. Although I graduated from HMS 25 years ago, I remained tightly connected as I continued my training and career at Massachusetts General Hospital. One benefit of my long tenure at MGH was my relationship with HMS students and young alumni whom I taught and/or mentored. They have tremendous options because of the resources HMS has always provided its students: talented classmates, outstanding medical training, abundant research opportunities, and extraordinary mentors and advisors.

The medical establishment that welcomes young alumni today is significantly different from the one I entered so enthusiastically in 1988. Vast restructuring of training paradigms, health care delivery systems, payment structures, and research funding, are underway, and most HMS alumni feel the impact. Many of our young alumni approach their careers in clinical practice, research, administration, or policy with a mix of exhilaration and trepidation, for the health care climate is challenging, their mentors are discouraged, and the only thing certain is monumental change. Working in Washington, DC, where the defaming of our profession is often deafening, I understand their concerns and sometimes share them.

The seismic transformation of health care demands outstanding physician leadership at every level, as well as better education of and advocacy for practicing physicians. Our alumni base is unparalleled in its depth and breadth, and includes leaders in all facets of health care. If elected to the Council, I will advocate for increased connection between the young and more seasoned alumni, to share expertise and wisdom, and to encourage collaboration. Our young alumni should be change agents who guide the factious dialogue about medicine in the right direction, and more experienced alumni can be valuable mentors and champions for them. Our combined experience is powerful and should be utilized to inspire young students and alumni, educate ourselves, and advocate for changes that benefit our patients. 


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Ishani Ganguli

Classes of 2009–2013

Ishani Ganguli, AB ’05, MD ’11
Boston, MA

Clinical Fellow in Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital 


Ishani Ganguli, MD is a senior resident in the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Internal Medicine/Primary Care Program and a soon-to-be fellow in Health Policy and Management with the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. She is passionate about improving health care through narrative, study, and action.

Dr. Ganguli was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. She attended Harvard College, where she concentrated in biochemical sciences, studied malaria genetics, wrote for The Harvard Crimson, and spent a summer as an intern for ABC News Medical Unit. After graduating in 2005, she spent a year as staff writer for The Scientist magazine then joined Harvard Medical School. The following summer, she worked for Reuters Washington, DC bureau as a Kaiser Family Foundation Health Media Intern. Throughout medical school and beyond she has continued to write about science, medicine, and health policy for publications including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe. At The Globe, she also created and continues to author the weekly blog Short White Coat – now in its seventh year. The blog explores the impact of physician training on the quality of health care and provide a trainee’s perspective on how to improve it. As a result of such efforts in medical school, she was fortunate to receive the 2011 Richard C. Cabot Prize for the best paper on medical education or medical history and the American Medical Association Foundation Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship sponsored by the Johnson F. Hammond MD Fund.

While at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ganguli was also lucky enough to discover her passion for primary care just as energy was building institution-wide around this critical field. She spent a “fifth year” at HMS working for the grassroots organization Primary Care Progress and pursuing coursework at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. In her free time, she served as a non-resident advisor to Harvard undergraduates and co-produced the 101st Annual Second Year Show.

In 2011, she joined the Internal Medicine/Primary Care program at MGH. Here, she has been drawn to the challenge of transforming care delivery. As co-leader of the MGH Resident Quality and Safety Committee, she has led a number of quality improvement projects on issues including the quality of discharge summaries, high-value care, and hospital readmissions. She is also studying some of the costliest patients at MGH through interviews, chart review, and claims analysis in order to understand their relationship with the health care system and inform interventions targeted to their needs.

Dr. Ganguli is a Contributing Editor at the Journal of General Internal Medicine, where she created a narrative series on innovation in primary care training and delivery. For her fellowship, she will divide her time between policy work, primary care practice at the MGH Ambulatory Practice of the Future, and earning a Master’s degree at the Harvard School of Public Health. She lives in Boston with her husband Nikhil, a health policy researcher, and their five-month-old daughter Kimaya.


It is an honor to be nominated as a candidate for the Harvard Medical School Alumni Council. Ever since I stepped into the bewildering world of clinical medicine as a third year at HMS, I have been fascinated by the marvels of modern health care as well as its immense shortcomings. As my training has progressed, I have come to realize how much of the necessary work in medicine hangs in that hard-to-reach space between intention and impact, knowledge and execution. This lesson is increasingly apparent to HMS students, both through the efforts of Harvard faculty and through growing public discourse on the topic. It is critical to harness medical students’ unique, as yet unjaded, perspectives on the health care system and to engage them in the creative work of devising and testing ways to improve care delivery. We cannot frame this work as distinct from or additive to clinical practice, which has marginalized quality work as the purview of hospital administrators to the detriment of its success. Instead, we must encourage medical trainees to make smart, practical, and patient-centered clinical decisions because it is best for patients. I believe this is particularly important in the challenging practice of primary care and can be achieved through teamwork and patient engagement.

The Harvard Medical Alumni community is rich in leaders who have made major impacts in these areas. As a member of the Alumni Council, I would be eager to work with Dean Flier and others in this community to think imaginatively about engaging students and alumni in quality improvement and care redesign. For instance, we might pair students with alumni mentors who have related interests, thus engaging and energizing both parties. I would be honored to represent my cohort of HMS graduates in the Alumni Council. Thank you for your support.


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Carolyn Olson Walsh

Classes of 2009–2013

Carolyn Olson Walsh, MD ’09
Boston, MA

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center


Carolyn Walsh is a practicing pediatrician at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, where she cares for the children and adolescents of the largely immigrant communities of East Boston, Chelsea, and Revere.

She grew up in the Greater Boston area, then attended Barnard College in New York and graduated summa cum laude in 2005 with majors in Dance and in Neuroscience and Behavior. She returned to Boston to attend Harvard Medical School, from which she graduated magna cum laude. She completed her pediatrics training at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center’s Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics, in the Urban Health and Advocacy track.

Her two major areas of interest are obesity and primary care redesign.

After her third year of medical school, Dr. Walsh participated in the Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship, working with David Ludwig at Boston Children’s Hospital on a clinical trial examining the post-prandial metabolic effects of different diet compositions during weight loss maintenance. She also designed and published a study regarding the effects of changes in the HMS nutrition curriculum on the nutrition-related attitudes and knowledge of the students. She continued pursuing this interest during residency by serving as team leader for a quality improvement project regarding obesity care in the Children’s Hospital Primary Care Center. She also received residency research funds to use national databases to examine patterns in diagnosis and referrals for obesity and related comorbidities.

As her interest in primary care developed during medical school, Dr. Walsh became active in the Primary Care Student Interest Group. Together with several medical school colleagues after they transitioned into residency, she developed the Primary Care Progress Resident Collaborative, a forum for residents in various fields throughout the Harvard system to learn from each other and from national experts in the field of primary care redesign. At the end of residency, she was awarded the Boston Medical Center award in Community Pediatrics. She is excited to be at the beginning of a career in primary care at a time of great change in the field.

She lives in Boston with her husband, a research engineer for the US Army. They are expecting their first child in April.


As a recent HMS graduate, I hope to bring fresh ideas to the Alumni Council regarding how it can serve HMS students and the wider HMS community.

This community comprises an unparalleled group of potential mentors for medical students. The accomplishments of HMS affiliates are so tremendous that it can at times be overwhelming for students trying to imagine how to get from "here" to "there." One way to bridge the gap is through mentorship between students and members of the HMS community who are current or recent trainees. I have mentored several medical students as they contemplate career choices and navigate the changing demands of medical school, and would encourage the development of such relationships on a wider scale throughout the HMS student body. As much of the mentorship I received during medical school and training came from faculty and alumni who remained within the HMS system, I would also encourage students to develop relationships with alumni who work in a variety of settings.

My interest in primary care developed during a time of significant changes in the field, both at the school and on a national level. The development of the Center for Primary Care has dramatically expanded opportunities for students and faculty to learn about the changes that have occurred, and that will continue to occur, as health care reform develops on the national level. I am committed to helping students feel supported in choosing a career in primary care, whether it be academically- or community-based.

Lastly, I feel an important role for the Council is the support of the practical needs of graduating students and young alumni, particularly regarding debt reduction, loan forgiveness, and financial education.

I appreciate your consideration, and would be happy to serve the HMS community as a member of the Alumni Council.


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Sanjay V. Desai

Classes of 1994–1998

Sanjay V. Desai, MD ’98, FACP
Bethesda, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Director of the Osler Medical Training Program
Vice Chair for Education, Department of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Sanjay Desai is the Director of their Osler Medical Training Program and a specialist in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He is an active clinician and investigator, serving as attending physician in the hospital’s medical intensive care unit. His research focuses on graduate medical education and on clinical outcomes in survivors of critical illness.  He is currently helping lead the development of a large, multi-center, randomized trial of the 2011 duty hour regulations. He is an Assistant Professor with appointments in Pulmonary and Critical Care and General Internal Medicine. Sanjay also recently assumed the role of Vice Chair for Education, in which he oversees all educational programs in the Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine.

Prior to this role, Sanjay was Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the Washington Hospital Center and Chair of the hospital’s Critical Care Committee. He also served as an Associate Director for the Georgetown University/Washington Hospital Center Internal Medicine and the Pulmonary and Critical Care training programs. Sanjay has been recognized for his skills as an educator with numerous teaching and leadership awards, has published widely on medical education and critical care, and has been elected as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He currently serves on several national policy committees including the Council of Early Career Physicians and the Ethics and Professionalism committees of the American College of Physicians.

Sanjay grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor of science in bioengineering and a bachelor of economics in healthcare management. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1998, and completed his medical residency and subspecialty fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where is also served as a Chief Resident from 2004-2005. During his training, he spent two years as a consultant for McKinsey & Company working on a variety of issues both in the US and in South East Asia. Sanjay lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife and twin boys. 


It is an honor to be considered for selection to the Alumni Council. I believe my experiences at HMS were the most formative in my professional and personal development. I learned concepts then that have since been reinforced many times—success is fundamentally centered on people and principles. For any group, conditions will change, structures will change, and resources will change. What can remain constant are the type of people involved and the principles they serve. I am particularly excited about this opportunity as it centers on people.

I have focused my career on education and educational policy. There are many strong forces shifting the healthcare landscape—all of which create complex interactions with the development of our future physicians. In this transition, we need to be deliberate about creating a learning environment that prepares our students to succeed in the evolving healthcare paradigm. I believe this environment should thoughtfully engage our students in ambulatory medicine, high-value cost conscious care, medical genetics, population health, and models of medical education and physician training. We have adapted our own residency curriculum to emphasize these emerging priorities. With the involvement and guidance of nearly 10,000 alumni throughout the world, HMS can help lead the national dialogue on these and other pressing topics. More importantly, with effective engagement of our alumni, we can provide our students with the skillset, knowledge, experiences, and mentorship to help shape the new paradigm of healthcare. I believe this is one our key principles—developing future leaders to ensure we can always provide the highest quality healthcare in the world for our patients. I would look forward to serving in pursuit of this goal with our alumni community. 

Thank you sincerely for your consideration.


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Emily Oken

Classes of 1994–1998

Emily Oken, MD ’95, MPH ’03
Boston, MA

Associate Professor
Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute


Dr. Oken is an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. She practices as a Primary Care Physician at the Gretchen and Edward Fish Center for Women's Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. 

Dr. Oken attended Princeton University where she majored in Classics, and spent her summers digging in the Agora in Athens and the Minoan Bronze Age site of Akrotiri on Santorini. She graduated in 1991 magna cum laude but (ironically) decided that the life of a grant-funded archaeologist was too uncertain, and so opted to pursue her longtime interest in medicine. While at HMS she discovered a passion for public health and epidemiology research during research electives with the Indian Health Service in South Dakota and in Harare, Zimbabwe. She graduated cum laude from HMS in 1996 and completed her residency in the Harvard Combined Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program. She then completed her fellowship in general internal medicine at Harvard Medicine School and obtained her MPH from Harvard School of Public Health.  

Since completing her training Dr. Oken has remained at HMS as a clinician investigator. Dr. Oken’s research focuses on the influence of nutrition, environmental toxicants, and other modifiable factors during pregnancy and early childhood on long-term maternal and child health, especially cardiometabolic health and cognitive development. Her work on the toxicant risks and nutrient benefits of prenatal fish consumption has influenced national guidelines for fish consumption during pregnancy, helping to shift the previous focus of risk-only or benefit-only studies to a broader emphasis on the overall health effects of fish consumption for mother and baby. In support of this work she has led longitudinal cohort studies commencing in the peripartum period and following mothers and children throughout childhood. In 2009 Dr. Oken was awarded the Rising Star award by the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology Research (SPER). Her research informs and is enriched by her clinical practice in primary care women’s health, where she focuses on the importance of preventive health throughout the lifecourse.

Dr. Oken’s commitment to mentorship has been recognized with a mid-career development grant from NICHD and an HMS Young Mentor Award. Within the Department of Population Medicine, she is Director of Faculty Development and site director for the Harvard General Medicine fellowship. At Harvard Medical School she is a Peabody Society Research Fellow. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) she is core faculty member for the Summer Training in Academic Research and Scholarship (STARS) Program, which provides research opportunities for underrepresented minority students considering future careers in the biomedical sciences. 

Her husband Chinwe Ukomadu is a hepatologist who recently left Brigham and Women’s after 20+ years on staff to try out a different approach to stamping out liver disease at the New Indications Discovery Unit of Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. They live in Chestnut Hill with their son Obi (age 10) and daughter Amara (age 8).


More than anything else, the New Pathway taught me how to ask questions. In tutorials, we learned how to frame our questions and to seek answers from a wide range of resources, not only journals and textbooks (and then websites) but also peers and patients. In this era of increasingly constrained resources, the questions that we pose as doctors and as researchers are now more important than ever – What is the best way to prevent this condition or its complications? How can we ensure that our colleagues provide the best treatments? How can we educate our patients about optimal lifestyle and therapies, and then help them actually follow through?

HMS now requires that all students complete a Scholarly Project as a graduation requirement. Working with the students over the past 3 years as Peabody Society Research Fellow has helped me articulate why these skills matter for all biomedical career paths, whether in basic science, primary care, or hospital administration. Moreover, it has reinforced for me the importance of mentorship – which we no longer see as a dyadic relationship, but as a network. There are so many challenges to a career in medicine – the high cost of medical education, the workload, the piles of clinical paperwork, the shrinking pool of NIH funding. These burdens can seem insurmountable without encouragement from peers, support from mentors, and infusions of enthusiasm from trainees. 

It is a great honor to be considered as a member of the Alumni Council. If elected, I would look forward to working with colleagues and Dean Flier to ensure that the community of HMS Alumni serves as a network of mentors to support our colleagues and students throughout the lifecourse of their careers. 


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Richard Payne

Classes of 1974–1978

Richard Payne, MD ’77
Durham, NC

Esther Colliflower Professor of Medicine and Divinity, Duke University
John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics, the Center for Practical Bioethics, Kansas City, Missouri  


Dr. Payne is a graduate of Yale College (’73, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry). He did his postgraduate medical training in internal medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and in neurology at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in New York. He did post residency research fellowship training in neuro-oncology, pharmacology and pain management at Cornell University Medical College and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. His career path has been marked by a consistent and logical evolution in  academic interests starting from basic science with the development of an animal model to study opioid pharmacokinetics, moving to clinical studies to determine efficacy of opioid analgesics in clinical pain states, (especially sickle cell anemia and cancer) finally evolving to creating interdisciplinary programs in pain management and palliative care, medicine and theology-related concerns of patients and providers engaged in serious illness and end of life care. 

Prior to his appointment at Duke in 2004, Dr. Payne was Assistant Attending Physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering (1984-1987); Chief of the Department of Neurology, Cincinnati VA Hospital and Vice-Chair, Department of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (1987-1992), and Chief, Pain and Symptom Management Section, Department of Neurology, at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX (1992-1998). He returned to New York from 1998-2004 as Chief, Pain and Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Anne Burnett Tandy Chair in Neurology as well as Professor of Neurology and Pharmacology at S. Weill Medical College at Cornell University. In 2013, he joined the Center for Practice Bioethics as part time senior staff, writing and doing research on bioethics issues related to pain management, palliative and end of life care.

Dr. Payne has served on numerous federal panels, including the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, the NIH and the Institute of Medicine. He has given testimony before Congressional committees and the President’s Cancer Panel, and has appeared on numerous national media. He is a past president of the American Pain Society (2003). He is widely published in the areas of pain research and management, palliative medicine and ethics. He has served or is serving on scientific and medical advisory boards of several pharmaceutical companies and federal government agencies. He has co-edited four books in pain management, palliative and end of life care, and in spiritual care at the end of life.

Dr. Payne has received numerous research awards and funding, including research grants from the NIH, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Payne has served on the board of directors of The National Hospice and Palliative Care Association (palliative care representative), and The Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa (past board chair). He is past board chair of the National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship, and currently serves on the board of directors of the Hastings (Bioethics) Center, and the board of trustees of the Cunniff-Dixon Foundation, which "exists to improve the art of medicine and surgery (practice) for patients who are near or at the end of their lives."


My education at Harvard Medical School was excellent preparation for postgraduate training in internal medicine and neurology and provided superb grounding for me to assume academic leadership in the emerging fields of pain and palliative medicine. We are witnessing a transformation from our current system of disease detection and monitoring to one which will hopefully be truly engaged with enabling health and delivering efficient and cost-effective care to individuals and to populations of people. Doctors, patients and health care institutions and systems must develop and grow the capacity to continuously learn and feedback new information to improve health and the efficiency and quality of health delivery services. 

Harvard Medical School should continue to create the best educational opportunities for students and alumni to learn about state-of-the-art science and health policy advances, while also enabling critical thinking to critique and reconcile scientific reductionist approaches to curing illness with holistic integrative approaches informed by moral and humanistic concerns of doctors, patients and their families facing acute and chronic progressive illness. This will require attention to the exploration and teaching of the moral and ethical foundations of medicine and attention to re-claiming and sustaining the big picture goals of the profession in contemporary society: advancing science, attending to the care of individuals, and proper stewardship of precious societal resources to sustain health and high quality health care for the entire population. The Association must be creative in seeking ways to facilitate and enable ways for students and alumni to assimilate new information efficiently by utilizing, for example, on line technologies, and encourage the importance of learning opportunities that provide ways to reflect on, critique and improve individual and institutional practices of health and medical care.


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Mark Shields

Classes of 1974–1978

Mark Shields, AB ’70, MD ’75, MBA, FACP
Chicago, IL

Executive Vice President, Shields Consulting, Inc.


Dr. Mark Shields, a board certified general internist, has over 25 years of experience in management roles with medical groups, insurance companies, hospitals and integrated delivery systems. Mark recently retired after having served for eleven years as Senior Medical Director for Advocate Physician Partners and Vice President of Medical Management for Advocate Health Care. In this role Mark oversaw all clinical functions related to 4100 physicians aligned with the twelve Advocate hospitals in northern Illinois. Mark had been in this role since the start of APP's nationally recognized Clinical Integration program in 2004 and APP’s launch as one of the nation’s largest Accountable Care Organizations in 2011 serving over 365,000 commercial patients and over 100,000 Medicare patients. He speaks frequently across the country on clinical integration and accountable care organizations. Since retirement, Mark has served as a consultant with the State of Illinois on its Accountable Care program for Medicaid expansion. 

Prior to joining Advocate Physician Partners, Mark held the positions of Chief Medical Officer for Kaleida Health in New York, Chief Medical Officer at Dreyer Medical Clinic, Consulting Medical Director of the Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO in Illinois, and President and Co-founder of a primary care group where he practiced general internal medicine and geriatrics.

Mark has held teaching appointments at the University of Chicago and State University of New York at Buffalo and serves as a reviewer for Health Affairs and the Annals of Internal Medicine. He currently serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois. His published articles have appeared in Health Affairs, Health Services Research, American Journal of Medical Quality, and the American Journal of Public Health among others.

Mark has served on the boards of directors of the Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers (AIAMC), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), and the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and on the Committees on Health Professions and Clinical Leadership of the American Hospital Association.  He is the recipient of the Ethel Weinberg Award from AIAMC. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Medical School and the University of Chicago Business School.


It is an honor to be considered for the Alumni Council. I took a path less traveled by Harvard Medical School graduates. I pursued a career in general internal medicine and then transitioned, at mid-career, to management of health systems, primarily those taking on significant risk for financial and health outcomes. I was inspired to pursue this path by the words and example of Robert Ebert, MD, Dean of Harvard Medical School and Founder of the Harvard Community Health Plan who said, “The existing deficiencies in health care cannot be corrected simply by supplying more personnel, more facilities and more money. These problems can only be solved by organizing the personnel, facilities and financing into a conceptual framework and operating system that will provide optimally for the health needs of the population.”

Although my career has been primarily focused on the deployment of established knowledge, I have been amazed with the profession’s development of new knowledge.  My life has been deeply impacted over the last three years with two members of my family coming from outside Massachusetts to receive outstanding care at HMS hospitals with treatment that did not exist when I was a student. In addition, I am heartened by the commitment at HMS to study and teach innovative ways to deliver primary care and enhance the integration of services centered on the patient. It is critical, as we reform our health delivery system, that we preserve outstanding national resources like HMS that lead to advances in medical knowledge and inspire the next generation of care givers. 

If elected, I will leverage my delivery system experience to help HMS and its students prepare for dramatic changes and develop programs and tools which assist alumni in their careers.


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S. Jean H. Emans

Classes of 1969–1973

S. Jean H. Emans, AB ’66, MD ’70
Boston, MA

Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School 
Chief, Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine
Co-Director, Center for Young Women’s Health
Director, Office of Faculty Development, Boston Children's Hospital


S. Jean Herriot Emans, MD, is currently Chief of the Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine and Robert Masland Jr. Chair in Adolescent Medicine and Director of the Office of Faculty at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Emans earned her BA in East Asian History graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Radcliffe College in 1966. She then crossed the Charles River to Harvard Medical School, marrying classmate John Emans at the end of first year. After she received her MD AOA in 1970, she completed her internship and residency in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and a Fellowship in Adolescent Medicine also at Children’s, under Dr. Bob Masland. Working with surgical gynecologists, Dr. Emans brought her pediatric expertise to the creation of an internationally known program in pediatric and adolescent gynecology at Children’s. To disseminate lessons learned, she co-authored the textbook Emans, Laufer, Goldstein’s Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (6th edition, 2012). Since 1992 she has been PI of one of the seven Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB/HRSA) Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Training Programs in the US. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Adolescent Medicine and as President of the North American Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Gynecology. She was one of eight members of the first SubBoard of Adolescent Medicine (American Board of Pediatrics and American Board of Internal Medicine), and is currently one of two Adolescent Medicine representatives on the Council of Pediatric Subspecialties (CoPS). Dr. Emans directs two Harvard CME courses: Adolescent Medicine, and Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology – and an online course.  She has been named one of the Best Doctors in America; is the co-director of the websites, www.pedicases.org and the Center for Young Women’s Health popular site www.youngwomenshealth.org; and has authored more than 190 articles, chapters, and texts that have focused on medical education, reproductive endocrinology, sexual abuse, gynecology, mentoring, and faculty development. In 2001, she was asked to serve as the first Director of the Office of Faculty Development at Children’s; she has developed seminars, fellowships, publications, and mentoring resources and has provided career counseling to countless faculty. She is a founder and co-director of the Leadership Development Course for Physicians and Scientists for HMS junior faculty and a course for Faculty Mentors. She has lectured extensively on pediatric and adolescent gynecology and adolescent medicine nationally and internationally including keynote addresses in Melbourne Australia, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires. She was honored with the 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Adele Dellenbaugh Hofmann Adolescent Health Award, the 2009 HMS William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award, the 2012 Children's Hospital Alumni Award, and the 2011 Outstanding Achievement in Adolescent Medicine Award from the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), the highest honor in Adolescent Medicine.

Her husband, John Emans (Harvard ’66, HMS’70), is a pediatric orthopedist, also at Children’s, and they have two married children and 3 lively grandchildren (under 3 years old).


I would be incredibly honored to serve as your representative to the Alumni Council and contribute to alumni spirit and communication among students, HMS leadership, and alumni. I have had the pleasure of working next door to the HMS quadrangle and interacting with students, post docs, and faculty; so daily I know the successes and the challenges that abound. I hope alumni can contribute important perspectives to the dialogue on topics such as financial aid, curriculum reform, and faculty development, mentoring and support. Back in 1966, I was one of twelve women; now the class is balanced, but both men and women students as well as junior faculty have to juggle career/family/life commitments, debts, and aspirations. I have been gratified to see how funding of projects (e.g. Shore fellowships) for early career faculty challenged with family responsibilities and other obstacles can make a difference in career trajectories. Having co-chaired the recent HMS Subcommittee on Mentoring, I am pleased to see implementation of our recommendations including the first ever (believe or not) orientations in Gordon Hall (aka Building A) for new HMS faculty, annual career conferences, and mentoring. I am pleased that some gentle activism has resulted in HMS broadening the opportunities for alumni to give donations to new areas of interest. Student financial aid will remain a priority if we are to continue to support the best and brightest and lessen future debt burden. At the same time I am an advocate for giving back in all aspects of HMS life – whether medical education, primary care, global health, career development for faculty, or Countway’s Women’s Archives! I hope we will all reflect on areas that we feel passionate about from our life at HMS as students, faculty, patients (current and future), parents, and/or colleagues. I look forward to hearing from fellow alumni about other important topics for HMS and how we can contribute to the HMS mission.


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Sharon B. Murphy

Classes of 1969–1973

Sharon B. Murphy, MD ’69
Las Vegas, NV

Former Scholar-in-Residence
Institute of Health


Sharon Murphy MD is a recently retired pediatric hematologist-oncologist. Until 2013, she was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in Washington DC. She joined the IOM in 2008, coming to DC from Texas where she was the inaugural Director of the Children’s Cancer Research Institute and Professor of Pediatrics at  the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio from 2002-2008. From 1988 to 2002, Dr. Murphy was Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago and Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University School of Medicine where she also led the program in pediatric oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center. From 1974 to 1988, Dr. Murphy was on the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. She completed her post-doctoral training in pediatric hematology and oncology at the Childrens’ Hospital of Philadelphia and her general pediatrics residency at the University of Colorado. She graduated cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1969 and earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1965.

A pediatric oncologist and clinical cancer researcher, Dr. Murphy has devoted her career to improving cure rates for childhood cancer, particularly childhood lymphomas and leukemias. She was Chair of the Pediatric Oncology Group, an NCI-sponsored clinical trials cooperative group, from 1993 to 2001. She has been recognized for her achievements by the Clinical Research Award from the Association of Community Cancer Centers (2001), the Distinguished Service Award for Scientific Leadership from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (2005), the Distinguished Career Award from the American Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (2009), and the Pediatric Oncology Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (2010). Among other honors, she has been repeatedly listed in Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors.

The author of more than 220 original articles, reviews, and book chapters, Dr. Murphy has also served on numerous editorial boards, including Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. She has been a member of the Boards of Directors of the American Cancer Society, the American Association of Cancer Research, the American Society of Hematology, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and has been an advisor to NCI and FDA.


I am honored to be nominated for the Alumni Council as a representative of the Eighth Pentad, and if elected, I would pledge to serve with vigor and enthusiasm. I look forward to the opportunity of working with the Alumni Council to more effectively connect alumni with each other and the school and to serve as a liaison with the students and the academic administration.

I have a broad background as well as fresh perspectives I could bring to the Council. I have over forty years’ experience of working in academic health centers, engaged in patient care, education and training, and clinical and translational research. Recently I spent a stimulating five year stint from 2008-2013 as a Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute of Medicine working with the National Cancer Policy Forum and the Board of Health Care Services on topics related to health policy and transformation of health care delivery, including rapid learning health care systems, patient-centered comparative effectiveness research, genomics, and informatics and big data in medicine. And I have previous experience connecting me to the Alumni Council and the role it plays at HMS, having been privileged to serve as President from 1999-2000 after my term as Councilor. It would be most interesting to revisit issues facing the Council after the passage of a decade to see what has changed, though I would guess that student indebtedness would still be a paramount  concern .

To say that my life was transformed by my experience at HMS would be an understatement, and I feel that I owe a debt to the School. I have long since repaid my student loans, and I have joined the Ezekiel  Hersey  Council  and left a legacy to the School with a charitable bequest. But I’d still like to pay back some more and would hope to make a difference by my service on the Alumni Council.


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2015 Alumni Council


Those elected would "take office" for a three year term and are expected to attend three, all-day meetings in Boston each year and a willingness to listen to HMS alumni and bring their and your interests and concerns to the Alumni Council. If you would like to recommend an HMS alumna or alumnus (including yourself), please send your nomination via email to hmsalum@hms.harvard.edu.

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The HMAA constitution was ratified at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Medical Alumni Association on Friday, May 28, 2010. Download »

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