HMS Media Fellowship

Application Deadlines 2/6/2015 and 2/20/2015

Dear Colleague:

Harvard Medical School’s media fellowship program is entering its eighteenth season. This spring’s two fellowship programs are Modern Plagues: Emerging Threats to Global Health (March 2 – March 6) and To Sleep, Perchance . . . (May 4 – May 8). Descriptions of each program can be found below.

Reporters are invited to choose one of these programs and apply. Three applicants will be chosen for each program.

For a one-week period, three fellows will visit researchers at the medical school and at its affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes, meeting with a broad spectrum of faculty and other stakeholders. Although reporters will attend as a group, prior to arrival we will work with each fellow to cater to any individual interests and the interests of their media outlet and tailor the experience within the broader theme.

The application process is simple: just email me three to five relevant clips and two to three paragraphs detailing what you want to take away from the fellowship. In addition, please state that you have license from your editor, or usual freelance clients, to cover the topic generically in the future. (You are not obligated to cover Harvard’s work in the area, just the field as a whole.)

We plan to notify successful applicants very soon afterward. Harvard Medical School will pay for participants’ lodging and meals (but not travel to and from Boston). These fellowships are offered as educational opportunities on a background basis. We do not monitor or “gate-keep” fellows’ contact with faculty throughout the program.

I look forward to hearing from you or from someone you think would enjoy this experience. You can email me at If I can answer any questions about the fellowship, please call me at 617-432-0441.


David Cameron

Director of Science Communications

Harvard Medical School





Eighteenth Annual Harvard Medical School Media Fellowship

Spring 2015


Fellowship Background:


The Harvard Medical School media fellowship program is now entering its eighteenth season and has hosted 96 reporters from across print, online, radio and television. Reporters work with our staff to design a program around the fellowship theme tailored to their particular interests and then spend a week meeting with roughly 20 faculty and other relevant stakeholders. Fellows have often formed lasting relationships with these subject matter experts, and the school does not play gatekeeper in those relationships.

This spring’s fellowship themes are Modern Plagues and To Sleep, Perchance. See program descriptions and application information below.

Applications for this spring’s fellowship are due Friday, February 6, 2015, for Modern Plagues, and February 20, 2015, for To Sleep, Perchance.


Spring 2015 Fellowship Themes:

Modern Plagues: Emerging Threats to Global Health

March 2 – March 6  

When Ebola left its rural roots behind and entered the interconnected urban environments of West Africa, it transformed itself from a horrible but rare local disease to a potentially global health threat. In recent years, aid workers have carried cholera from South Asia to earthquake-stricken Haiti, once-exotic tropical disease are becoming prevalent on the US Gulf Coast, and the risk of a global bird flu pandemic might be a few migrating waterfowl away.

What can we learn from the chemical ecology of these viruses and bacteria? Might these insights yield new compounds with therapeutic potential? How do these diverse pathogens interact with the biodiversity of our own microbiomes? Are there defenses we can borrow from the fungal or microbial worlds to fight these diseases, or other health risks?

In this fellowship, reporters will meet individually with Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health faculty who are experts in all aspects of microbiology, immunobiology and global health. Fellows will meet with scientists who study the fundamental mechanisms of microbial life and the dynamics of the biospheres existing everywhere from a gram of soil to our gut. From the perspective of global health, fellows will also meet with researchers who study such diseases as Ebola, cholera, tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, Denghi virus and hemorrhagic fever viruses. They will also meet with public health experts who are implementing novel ways for delivering health care to populations who are susceptible to many of these conditions.

This program will include interviews with experts and hands-on demonstrations of laboratory and clinical technologies.

Fellows will also have the option of attending an HMS-hosted symposium titled “Rethinking the Response to Emerging Microbes: Vaccines and Therapeutics in the Ebola Era” on Thursday, March 5, of that week.

In addition to meeting with Harvard Medical School faculty, fellows also may attend roundtable discussions, research seminars and grand rounds.

The application deadline for this program is Friday, February 6, 2015.


To Sleep, Perchance . . .

May 4 – May 8

Sleep deprivation is sometimes considered the “new smoking.” Chronic sleep disorders may negatively affect mood, health, longevity and productivity. Such disorders might also contribute to the development of other medical and psychiatric disorders, including elevated blood pressure, cardiac disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety and cancer. It also takes a significant economic toll on the US.

Despite increased awareness of this, the sleep-deprivation trend shows no sign of abatement.

In order to better understand this one-third of our life that we take for granted, fellows will meet with researchers and specialists throughout Harvard Medical School who are experts in both the basic biology and the clinical significance of sleep. They will meet with experts studying sleep and epidemiology, respiration, neurology, and inflammation. They will learn about the genetics of circadian clocks and specific sleep disorders such as apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, parasomnias (abnormal behaviors during sleep) and epilepsy, as well as how sleep interacts with anesthesia and how it affects memory.

Fellows will also have an opportunity to see a sleep lab in action.

In addition to meeting with Harvard Medical School faculty, fellows also may visit laboratories and attend roundtable discussions, research seminars and grand rounds.

The application deadline for this program is Friday, February 20, 2015.


Easy Application

Applying to the program is easy. Simply send an email to and in it include information about you and your beat. Please also indicate that your editor/producer will allow you a week away and that there is general interest in covering the topic in some fashion down the road (this is generic interest, not necessarily interest in covering Harvard).

Harvard Medical School will pay for lodging and the program includes reimbursement for meals.


NUMBER OF FELLOWS: Three per theme.



David Cameron

Director of Science Communications

Harvard Medical School

107 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Suite 111

Boston, MA 02115

617-432-0441 or