Alumni Association

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Candidate profiles for President-Elect, Treasurer, Councilors for the Second, Fifth, and Ninth 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.



Alumni Council Candidates



Councilor: Second Pentad
(Classes of 2005–2009)

Councilor: Fifth Pentad
(Classes of 1990–1994)

Councilor: Ninth Pentad
(Classes of  1970–1974)

Lisa Henske


Lisa Petri Henske, MD ’85
Cambridge, MA

Director, Center for LAM Research and Clinical Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital


Elizabeth (Lisa) Petri Henske is the Founding Director of the Center for LAM Research and Clinical Care at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Co-Director of the Brigham Research Institute.  She is also a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a practicing medical oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The genetic cause of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) – somatic mutations in the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) genes – was discovered by Dr. Henske’s laboratory.  She also discovered the physical interaction between the TSC1 and TSC2 proteins, which is the mechanistic underpinning of many subsequent advances in this field.  Currently, her research is focused on the cellular and metabolic mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of LAM and TSC.  She has published more than 100 manuscripts on TSC and LAM.  She is the Principal Investigator of the Sirolimus and Autophagy Inhibition in LAM (SAIL) clinical trial.

Outside of Boston, Dr. Henske is a member and past Chair of NIH study sections and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of foundations that support TSC and LAM research.  She is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the Interurban Clinical Club.  She has received awards for her research from the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, the LAM Foundation, and the Society for Women's Health Research (the Medtronic Prize).

Dr. Henske earned her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Yale, where she majored in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.  She trained in Internal Medicine and Hematology/Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and then rose to the level of Assistant Professor at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital before moving to Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Since 2008, when Dr. Henske moved back to Boston, she has been active in several spheres at HMS, including the Alumni Council, the Faculty Council, the Warren Alpert Prize Selection Committee, the MD-PhD Admissions Committee, and the Reunion Committee.  She particularly enjoys interacting directly with students as a lecturer in HMS courses, an advisor to students in the Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program, and a research mentor for the Scholarly Projects program.

Dr. Henske lives in Cambridge MA with her husband Rob, who attended Harvard Business School.  The Henske’s have three children.  Dr. Henske grew up in Washington, D.C. and McLean, Virginia, where she was fortunate to have high school research opportunities at the National Institutes of Health.  Her sister Michelle A. Petri and brother William A. Petri Jr. are also academic physicians.  Dr. Henske enjoys running and plays the flute in a local orchestra.


What an incredible honor to be nominated for President!  Since moving back to Boston six years ago, I’ve had the privilege of working with HMS at several different levels – through the Faculty Council and Alumni Council, the MD-PhD Admissions Committee, a course lecturer, advisor to HST students, and research mentor.

Working directly with HMS students is a consistent pleasure.  They are curious, creative, endlessly optimistic about the future, and incredibly smart.   They ask the hardest questions in science, medicine, and health policy.  They wonder how their lives and careers will unfold, both in and out of medicine.  As alumni we share so much with them – including the passion for improving lives through inquiry and research.

My objectives as President will reflect three fundamental questions:

What can the Alumni Council offer to HMS students?  Current students are deeply interested in our perspectives on career paths (which rarely unfold according to plan) and family/work/life balance.  As a practicing medical oncologist with a research laboratory, the Principal Investigator of a clinical trial, a parent, and spouse, I am acutely aware of this elusive “balance” - as are most alumni.   Building stronger bonds between alumni and students will allow our insights in building careers and lives to be shared.

How can the Alumni Council support current and future alumni?   We must continue to build connectivity between HMS and alumni, regardless of geography, and allow the deep intellectual and educational resources of the medical school to be enjoyed by more of us.

How can the Alumni Council support Harvard Medical School?  Together, let us identify high-impact areas where we can advocate for the mission of HMS and strengthen our individual connections with this remarkable institution.

In conclusion, I would be privileged to serve as President of the HMS Alumni Council and will work on all three fronts to advance the role of Alumni at HMS.

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DeWayne Pursley


DeWayne Pursley, MD ’82
Newburyport, MA

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


DeWayne Pursley, MD, MPH, is chief of the Department of Neonatology and director of the Klarman Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a member of the Division of Newborn Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH).

Dr. Pursley is a graduate of Stanford University, HMS, and the Harvard School of Public Health.  He trained in Pediatrics at BCH, remaining for a fourth year as chief medical resident, and then completed a fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at BIDMC, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and BCH. Recently elected to the American Pediatric Society, his interests include NICU quality improvement, resource allocation and utilization, and racial and social disparities in infant outcomes.  He is currently leading a project with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Perinatal Section to examine resource allocation in newborn medicine.

Dr.  Pursley is chair-elect of the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Sub-board of the American Board of Pediatrics, and is a member of the board of directors of the National Perinatal Information Center and the governing council of the American Hospital Association Section on Maternal-Child Health.  He is past chair of the Executive Committee of the AAP Perinatal Section- where he focused his efforts on education, advocacy, and policy for neonatal care- and currently serves as vice president of the AAP Massachusetts chapter where he is committed more broadly to the health of all children in the Commonwealth. He is also the AAP liaison to the National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Program and has served as a member of the expert panel to identify drug priorities as part of the federal government’s Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act. He is a permanent member of the NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Pediatrics Subcommittee study section.

Dr. Pursley recently served as a contributor to the NICHD “Disparities in Perinatal Medicine: Focus on Infant Mortality, Stillbirth and Preterm Birth” workshop; served on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Newborn Issues workgroup of the pandemic influenza workshop for pregnant women and newborns; provided testimony to the Food and Drug Administration on the effect of critical drug shortages on children and the need for improved neonatal drug investigation; and was a member of the NIH Consensus Panel on Inhaled Nitric Oxide for Premature Infants.

Since graduation from HMS, in addition to his teaching, research, and clinical care responsibilities, Dr. Pursley has served the Medical School on advisory committees for the HMS Office for Diversity and Community Partnership and co-chaired the planning committee for the Daniel D. Federman Award for Institutional Civic Engagement and Service.  He is currently a Dean’s appointee to the Faculty Council and a member of the HMS Financial Aid Committee. Dr. Pursley, a recipient of the HMS Dean’s Community Service Award, has also been recognized with the March of Dimes Massachusetts Chapter Franklin Delano Roosevelt Award, the Excellence in Mentoring Award from the HMS Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs, and the HMS Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award.


I was surprised and honored to be nominated for this role on the Harvard Medical School Alumni Council.  I am continually humbled by the significant contributions made by our alumni/ae to medicine, education, science, and society.  Undoubtedly, every one of you would also have much to contribute to the Council and HMS.  This is a significant responsibility, and if elected, I will work to ensure that you are ably represented.

When I arrived at HMS as a laid back but wary native Californian, I never anticipated that I would remain in its shadow for the next 30+ years.  I assumed that the institution could tolerate a clinically and public health oriented student for a few years, but I never anticipated that it would affirm my professional path and nurture my career. Further, it has maintained a diverse, remarkably gifted student body; enhanced its efforts for a more diverse faculty; and expanded its breadth and depth of expertise into the realms of social and global medicine, improvement science, health policy, and bioethics.

HMS is a community of communities. HMS alumni, one of its most vital and influential communities, have so much to contribute to its noble mission "to create and nurture a diverse community of the best people committed to leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease." Alumni should contribute to current efforts to determine the HMS community’s core values. On a practical level, alumni can contribute to several core elements during the Advanced Experiences and Scholarly Project phase of the new Pathways curriculum. Whether opportunities to trial unique practice options, explore the interface of science and the humanities, or shadow leaders in organized medicine, with its nearly 10,000 alumni, no medical school is better prepared to offer such a range of substantive experiences for its students. It would be an honor to partner with you as we accept and affirm our responsibility as stewards of the HMS mission.

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Phillip Landrigan


Phillip Landrigan, MD ’67
Mamaroneck, NY

Dean for Global Health, Mount Sinai School of Medicine


Dr. Philip Landrigan is a pediatrician and epidemiologist. He graduated from Boston College (1963), Harvard Medical School (1967) and the London School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, University of London (1977). He completed a residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston. He trained in epidemiology at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and served for 15 years as a CDC epidemiologist with extended overseas tours in Nigeria and El Salvador.  He has been a member of the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai since 1985. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1987.

Dr. Landrigan’s pioneering studies showing that lead is toxic to children at even very low levels was critical in persuading the US government to remove lead from gasoline and paint – actions that have reduced incidence of lead poisoning by 95%, raised the intelligence of a generation of American children and saved this country $200 billion each year.

Dr. Landrigan chaired a committee at the National Academy of Sciences which found that children are uniquely vulnerable to pesticides and other toxic chemicals. This work provided the foundation for the Food Quality Protection Act, the federal law on pesticides, the only US environmental statute containing explicit provisions to protect the health of children. He was a leader in creating the National Children’s Study.

From 1995 to 1997, Dr. Landrigan served on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteran's Illnesses. In 1997-1998, he served as Senior Advisor on Children's Health to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was instrumental in helping to establish a new Office of Children's Health Protection at EPA.

Dr. Landrigan served from 1996 to 2005 in the Medical Corps of the United States Naval Reserve. He retired in 2005 at the rank of Captain. He served in Korea and Ghana and was Officer-in-Charge of the West Africa Training Cruise, a medical humanitarian mission to Senegal in 2004 that saw over 11,000 patients. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), the National Defense Service Medal and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. He continues to serve as Surgeon General of the New York Naval Militia, the maritime component of New York's National Guard.

In New York, Dr. Landrigan has directed medical and epidemiological studies of the rescue workers who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.


I am honored to be nominated to be Treasurer of the HMS Alumni Council. If elected, I will try to return some of the many gifts I have been given by HMS by working with Dean Flier, school leadership and fellow alumni/ae to build a national and international network of mentors who can guide our students and graduates throughout their careers.

I am a pediatrician, epidemiologist and occupational/environmental physician. I have worked in government, in academia and with the World Health Organization. I would bring to the Alumni Council the lessons learned from nearly five decades spent in public health, preventive medicine, occupational medicine, children's environmental health and global health.

Evidence-based advocacy is my passion. I take great satisfaction in using epidemiology to discover threats to health and then in building broad and sometimes eclectic coalitions who can speak truth to power and translate scientific findings into actions that improve the health of the public.  Being a part of the teams that successfully removed lead from gasoline, controlled exposures to benzene in the workplace, reformed US federal pesticide law and documented the need to provide health benefits for the 9/11 first responders have been highlights of my professional life.

Mentoring students is my second joy. I love working with students, especially those with interests in public health and community medicine who have come to understand that every patient comes from a culture, a place and a population and who recognize that the care of the patient requires knowing the community.

My wife Mary and are blessed with 3 children and 7 grandchildren, all of whom live in greater Boston. We are enormously proud that our two medical children are both HMS faculty - Christopher in the Department of Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital and Mary Frances in the Department of Anesthesiology, also at Children's.

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Rebecca Wurtz


Rebecca Wurtz, MD ’85
Chicago, IL

Associate Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota


Rebecca Wurtz graduated from Yale College in 1978 with a degree in history and from Harvard Medical School in 1985. Trained in internal medicine at Rush Presbyterian St Luke’s in Chicago and infectious diseases at the University of California at San Francisco, she first worked as a physician and hospital epidemiologist at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital (she based her novel-in-verse, County, kind of a love story, on that experience), and concurrently served as the medical director for TB control for the Chicago Department of Public Health. She obtained her MPH from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health in 1995. She subsequently practiced at Evanston Hospital, where she joined the faculty of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

In 2001, observing the clinical and population health needs for electronic health information, Dr. Wurtz studied clinical informatics through the Oregon Health Sciences University distance program while serving as the President of the Chicago Board of Health. Equipped with knowledge of infectious disease, public health, and information systems, she became the deputy medical director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, where she directed the Office of Health Protection and the Department’s efforts to implement electronic communicable disease reporting systems.

Following her time at the state health department, Dr. Wurtz became the Chief Medical Officer for a software company that designed and implemented communicable disease surveillance and reporting systems. In that capacity, she worked on the CDC’s National Electronic Disease Surveillance System, for the Hong Kong Hospital Authority designing an infectious disease surveillance system after SARS, and for numerous state and local health departments developing outbreak management and immunization information systems. In addition to public health information systems, she has worked on health care information system implementation and standardized vocabularies for health information technology.

Dr. Wurtz had a long-time academic appointment in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Anthropology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where she directed the MPH program. In 2014, she moved to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Management, where she directs an executive MPH program and teaches management and informatics. She is the recipient of numerous awards for teaching and service. The author of “8 principles of open health data,” her research currently focuses on the use of “data exhaust”—the data produced as a digital by-product of daily life—in understanding individual and population health.

A lifelong Chicago, Dr. Wurtz is the vice-president of the Sprague Memorial Institute, a philanthropic organization focused on “investigating causes of disease and preventing and relieving suffering” for the people of the city of Chicago.

Becky lives in Minneapolis and Chicago and is married to Jeff Miller, Yale 1978, a furniture designer, maker, and author. They have two wonderful children: Isaac, a police officer, and Ariel, a sophomore at Oberlin.


One day during our first year in medical school, Suketu Sanghvi and I were in the Rare Book Room of the Countway Library. I don’t remember why we were there, but the librarian, recognizing our interest in the history of medicine, brought out the library’s copy of Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica.  We were joined at the massive wooden library table by an older man whom I had noticed on previous visits. He was clearly delighted by our enthusiasm and together we turned the giant parchment pages so he could show us his favorite images. We learned later that the man was Dr. Richard Warren, a descendent of one of the founders of the medical school, and a brilliant surgeon.

That story captures my experience both as a student at and an alumna of Harvard Medical School: the school provides a platform from which to access unparalleled resources—both material and human—and engenders an analytic framework to allow its graduates to explore the many facets of health and medicine. As a result of the outstanding education I received, I have had the opportunity to work as a clinician, a public servant, a computer scientist, and in academics.

It is an honor to be nominated to serve as the treasurer of the Alumni Association. The Alumni Council represents the interests of the alumni to the Dean and communicates HMS’s programs to the alumni. If elected, I will work to translate the wisdom and vitality of HMS graduates into opportunities for current students, and find ways for HMS’s resources to continue to inspire its alumni.


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Classes of 2005–2009

Kim-Son Nguyen, MD ’07
Redwood City, CA

Hematologist-Oncologist, Palo Alto Medical Foundation


Educated and trained at Harvard and Stanford for over 15 years, and a former faculty member at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Nguyen brings exceptional medical training to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation clinic. “I want to provide the kind of care that I would want for my own family,” he often shares with his colleagues, “the kind of care that uses the latest scientific advances but is personalized for each individual. I never see a patient in front of me, but a mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, or son, with their unique goals in life, their unique hopes and dreams.”

Dr. Nguyen believes in empowering patients with the latest knowledge to help them make decisions. As a member of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation cancer team, he works with other well-trained, talented physicians, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, physical therapists, and staff to support patients physically and emotionally throughout their treatment course. Because cancer patients cannot wait for certain new, potentially life-saving drugs to be approved, Dr. Nguyen always looks for the most appropriate clinical trials, either within Palo Alto Medical Foundation or at any other institution around the world, for his patients when conventional treatments are no longer effective.

A rising leader within the global oncology community, Dr. Nguyen co-directs the Vietnam program of the Health Volunteers Overseas/American Society of Clinical Oncology, helping educate the next generation of oncologists and build capacity for cancer care delivery in resource-limited settings.

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Tami Tiamfook-Morgan

Classes of 2005–2009

Tami Tiamfook-Morgan, MD ’04
Ellicott City, MD

Attending Emergency Physician, Emergency Medicine Associates, Carroll Hospital Center


Dr. Tami Tiamfook-Morgan, was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.  Despite living in an inner city neighborhood where she could have easily succumb to the negative images and distractions that surrounded her, she always saw positivity in potential.  Potential in her community, potential in her peers, and most importantly potential in herself.  She used that perspective to drive her down a focused path. Tami took an accelerated course load and finished High School in three years, graduating at just 16 years old. She continued with that drive in college and ultimately graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelors in Science cum laude.  She then pursued her interest in medicine at Harvard Medical School where she graduated in 2004 with honors.

Throughout the way, Tami always emerged herself in her community to guide the potential of others as well.  An example of this came during medical school when she founded a group, called “Just for Girls”.  Tami chose an underserved neighborhood in Roxbury to start a program where she matched up inner city girls, with mentors in medicine.  This resulted in an open environment where the girls felt comfortable enough to share the things concerning them in school and life in general, and provided the mentors with great opportunities for meaningful guidance.

After medical school, Tami went on to continue her residency at Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Here, Tami focused on researching pre-hospital care and primarily pre hospital airway management safety. After completing residency, she took a job as an emergency medicine attending at Mount Auburn hospital in Cambridge, MA.  This hospital is the community teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.  Tami continued to be involved in medical education as she was the residency coordinator for residents as they rotated at that site.  She performed monthly performance evaluations and gave lectures throughout the year.  She also lectured the internal medicine residents at Mount Auburn on different emergency medicine topics and assisted in medical student procedural courses at HMS.  She also taught Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) classes throughout Boston.

Last year, Tami moved from New England to Maryland to support her husband’s business career.  Although it was difficult to leave their home of 13 years, they were excited about the change and new opportunities.  Tami currently works at a large community hospital in Maryland which serves a wide region and diverse range of patients.  She currently serves on the Medical Staff Quality Committee which is responsible for defining, prioritizing, overseeing and monitoring the hospitals performance improvement activities.

Throughout her career, Tami has always found time for family.  She is the proud mother of four kids, Dwane Jr. – 6, David – 5, Daniel – 3, and Mia – 1.  She has also been the legal guardian of her youngest sister Jasmine – 14, for the past 5 years as a way to help her on a path to success that started in a similar Brooklyn setting.


I am honored to be nominated to the HMS alumni council.  HMS is not only where I received my medical degree, it brought me to a city and a setting that developed me into the doctor that I am today.  I look forward to serving as a liaison so I can help give back to the organization that has given me so much.

The best way for any organization to continue to move forward is to continuously evolve for the better.  To do that, you have to understand where the community is going as well as any issues that key constituents are currently facing.  I look forward to helping facilitate those conversations.  Understanding the needs and concerns of both students and the university to create a successful forward path will be an exciting challenge.  I look forward to the opportunity to reengage with students and my alumni peers in a way to continue to drive forward the organization that has given so much to me.

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Louise Aronson

Classes of 1990–1994

Louise Aronson, MD ’92
San Francisco, CA

Professor, University of California, San Francisco


Louise Aronson is a geriatrician, educator, and writer. A Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), she currently serves as Chief of Geriatrics Education and Director of the Optimizing Aging Center and UCSF Medical Humanities. Her clinical practice includes home-based primary, hospital and palliative care for older adults through the Care at Home program. She writes about medicine, aging, health care, and public medical communication for medical journals and the lay press and is the author of A History of the Present Illness.

A native San Franciscan, Louise received her BA magna cum laude in history and anthropology at Brown University. While working with refugees in the US and on the Thai-Cambodian border, she realized that medicine would provide her with both a varied and interesting career and the skills and opportunities to make a difference for vulnerable populations. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1992 and completed an internal medicine residency, primary care chief residency, and geriatrics fellowship at UCSF. After training, Louise initially joined the UCSF faculty, founding the Housecalls program, the institution’s first geriatrics clinical rotations, and serving as the Medical Director of UCSF Home Care. She then moved to the community to hone her clinical skills across care settings and pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in creative writing.

In 2006, Louise returned to the UCSF faculty where she has served as Director of the Pathways to Discovery Program and the Northern California Geriatrics Education center, editor of the JGIM Healing Arts section, and associate editor for the JAMA Care of the Aging Patient series. Louise’s research and scholarship focus on geriatrics education, reflective learning, and public medical writing and communication. She is particularly interested in training current and future health professionals to provide optimal care to older adults and the use of writing to harness the unique expertise and experiences of clinicians and medical scientists in service of health and health care. A former Teaching Scholar, Geriatrics Faculty Scholar, and Medical Education Research Fellow, Louise has received the California Homecare Physician of the Year award, a Geriatric Academic Career Award, the Cooke Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, UCSF mentorship and teaching awards, the Lieberman Scholar Award, the AOA Edward D. Harris Professionalism Award, an Arnold P. Gold Professorship for Humanism in Medicine, and the American Geriatrics Society Clinician-Educator of the Year award.

Louise’s writing has appeared in the Lancet, the New England Journal, JAMA, Health Affairs, the New York Times, Narrative Magazine, the Bellevue Literary Review, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. She has won the Sonora Review Prize, the New Millennium Short Fiction Award, and three Pushcart nominations for her short fiction. A History of the Present Illness was a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize and the PEN American award for best debut fiction.


I am excited to be considered for a position on the Alumni Council for the very same reasons I was excited to attend HMS: the opportunity to collaborate with smart, dedicated, innovative people on work that matters. I still vividly recall telephoning one of my interviewers from New York’s Penn Station (a process that involved using a large box attached to a wall into which I inserted coins) to say I’d loved HMS but had never seen myself as one of “those people.” He laughed and gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received: You won’t find a more impressive group; “those people” are the ones from whom you’ll learn what you need to know to be a good doctor. He was absolutely right.

Yet in recent years, I have begun to wonder what being a good doctor means in the twenty first century. The digital revolution has fundamentally and irrevocably changed the way we learn, communicate, and practice. Equally important, for over a decade health care has been at the center of local and national political debates and the subject of daily news stories detailing high costs and errors, systemic inequalities, and unprecedented rates of patient dissatisfaction and physician burnout. But with changes and challenges come opportunities, and I can think of no school as well positioned to creatively and effectively tackle these challenges as HMS.

If elected to the Alumni Council, I would work with Dean Flier and my colleagues to consider questions including: How can we produce physicians eager to meet society’s most pressing health care needs? How do we create doctors who are both high tech and high touch? And how do we inspire and sustain a health care workforce with the skills and aspirations to inform not only care and research but also to lead in health policy, public education, quality and safety?

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Mahalakshmi Halasyamani

Classes of 1990–1994

Lakshmi Halasyamani, MD ’93
Ann Arbor, MI

Chief Medical Officer, Cogent Healthcare/Sound Physicians


Lakshmi Halasyamani was born in Chennai, India, and moved to the U.S. with her family at age 4 to grow up among the soybean farms of Decatur, Illinois.  She graduated from Saint Louis University in 1989, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa with an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and English Literature.  In 1994, Lakshmi graduated from HMS cum laude, and then trained and served as a chief resident in Internal Medicine/Primary Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  When she subsequently joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, she found that she loved inpatient medicine most and became a hospitalist as the field was just emerging.

After moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2000, Lakshmi started the hospital medicine program at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (800-bed, community-based health system with teaching programs for medical students and residents) and subsequently led hospital-wide care improvement initiatives in a variety of leadership roles while also earning her Six Sigma Black Belt.  As Chief Medical Officer, Lakshmi helped to build a patient-centered, team-based, data-driven environment for patient care initiatives that brought the health system’s culture of safety scores from below the 50th percentile to top-quartile performance.  She presented her work at national meetings, served as a member of the American College of Physicians Clinical Effectiveness Committee from 2006-2008, and then served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Society of Hospital Medicine from 2007-2013 and was named a Senior Fellow in Hospital Medicine in 2007.  In 2013, Lakshmi was awarded the Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s Keystone Center Patient Safety and Quality Leadership award, for her leadership in improving quality and patient safety and specifically recognizing her role in leading care management of hundreds of patients affected by contaminated epidural steroid injections.  Throughout her career, Lakshmi has published widely in the field of hospital medicine and quality improvement, co-edited a textbook on hospital medicine, and authored multiple book chapters.

 In January 2014, Lakshmi became the Chief Medical Officer of Cogent Healthcare, the largest privately held hospital medicine and intensive care company in the United States.  In that role, she worked to align over 900 clinical providers in multiple care improvement initiatives across 95 hospitals.  Cogent Healthcare was acquired by Sound Physicians in November 2014.  Currently, Lakshmi is a lead member of the transition team to ensure the smooth integration of both organizations.

In addition to her work in hospital medicine and quality improvement, Lakshmi volunteers as a physician at a free clinic in Ann Arbor.   As part of an international service cooperative, she and her family work in a rural health clinic in South India every July and are working to implement telemedicine solutions to advance primary and preventive care in the clinic and surrounding areas.

She is married to Matthew Davis (HMS ’94) who is on faculty at the University of Michigan.  They have two children, Seetha (17) and Krishna (12).


To be nominated to serve as a member of the Alumni Council is an honor and a thrill.  More than 25 years after first setting foot in the Quad, attending HMS is something that I cherish deeply.

As an HMS student, one of my key lessons was the opportunity to contribute to the greater good.  To pursue the ideal of doing as much possible good, for as many people as possible, requires daily acts of patience, hard work, and collaboration.

As a physician working predominantly outside typical academic settings, I have often appreciated the value of networks of professionals within and beyond institutional boundaries, as well as the perspectives that patients and families bring to shape the care that they receive.  The network of HMS alumni is a diverse community that is shaping health care delivery in myriad settings, and this network has profound opportunities to work more purposefully together to impact the patients and populations we all serve.

The Council provides the opportunity to connect alumni and also provide mentorship and support to young physicians as they transition from student to clinician, researcher, and leader.  Beyond the maturation of our clinical careers, our lives evolve and provide lessons learned through parenting, facing health issues of one’s own, caring for aging parents, and navigating the complexities of health care systems.  These experiences enrich our capacity for compassion and patience, and hopefully at the same time fuel our desire to improve the communities within which we work and live.  Coming together as alumni allows us to reflect on how we can continue to connect to and learn from one another.

If elected to the Council, I will actively participate and contribute to identify, develop and implement initiatives that increase our connection to each other as a community of clinicians, researchers, and most importantly as care providers.


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James Doroshow

Classes of 1970–1974

James Doroshow, MD ’73
Bethesda, MD

Deputy Director, National Cancer Institute; National Institutes of Health


Jim Doroshow received his A.B. degree from Harvard College in 1969 and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1973.  Following a residency in medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (1973 to 1975), he completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology Branches of the National Cancer Institute, NIH.  Dr. Doroshow has been the Deputy Director for Clinical and Translational Research of the National Cancer Institute since 2011, and the Director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis since 2004.  He continues to pursue his own research program which is devoted to the discovery of new, molecularly-targeted anticancer agents as a tenured Senior Investigator in the Developmental Therapeutics Branch of the NCI’s intramural Center for Cancer Research.

From 1983 to 2004, Dr. Doroshow was the Chairman of the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, and Associate Cancer Center Director for Clinical Investigation.  In those capacities, he established and directed the City of Hope’s NCI-funded early therapeutics program, its membership in a national clinical trials network supported by the NCI (Southwest Oncology Group), and an NCI-funded training program to develop physician-investigators in the early stages of their academic careers.  From the time of his first research grant in 1980, Dr. Doroshow was continuously funded by the NCI until he moved to the NIH in 2004.  He is the author of over 400 full-length publications in the areas of cancer molecular pharmacology, the role of oxidant stress in tumor cell signal transduction, and novel therapeutic approaches to solid tumors.

Dr. Doroshow served from 1990-1992 as Chairman of the National Institutes of Health Experimental Therapeutics II Study Section, from 1995-2001 as a member of the Subspecialty Board on Medical Oncology of the American Board of Internal Medicine, from 1999-2000 as Chairman of NCI’s Scientific Review Group A-Cancer Centers, and from 2004-2007 as a member of the FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee.  Dr. Doroshow chaired the NCI’s Clinical Trials Working Group from 2004-2005 that developed a comprehensive set of initiatives to restructure the national cancer clinical trials enterprise which was successfully finalized in 2014; and the NCI’s Operational Efficiency Working Group from 2008-2010 that developed standards to significantly shorten the timeline for cancer clinical trial implementation across all of NCI’s clinical trials platforms.  From 2012-2013 he served as the chair of the NIH Clinical Trials Working Group which made a series of recommendations that are now being implemented to improve the overall clinical research effort of the NIH.  He is currently a member of both the Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation as well as the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, and the Associate Editor for Oncology of the 25th Edition of the Cecil Textbook of Medicine.


Like so many classmates, my four year stay at HMS was the defining period of my personal and professional life.  I was extraordinarily fortunate to meet my future wife (Robin Winkler, HMS ’73) and to be mentored by an exceptional oncologist and clinician investigator (Donald Kaufman, M.D.) who shaped my future academic career.  I think it highly likely that those two events played a critical role in foreshadowing our daughter Deborah’s own experience at HMS (class of 2013).  Having engaged the curriculum and the classmates of two eras (in person and as a father), I remain in awe of the range of excellence—scientific, medical, and personal—that is a central feature of the medical school.

Since so much of my time is now devoted to the impossible task of trying to make a shrinking pot of federal research money go further, I constantly wonder how/why bright students choose--against the odds--to consider academic careers.  Robin and I worry what the world of academic medicine will be like for our daughter, and how changes in generational priorities will affect the availability of medical care in what seems like the very near term.  A reasonable supposition, however, is that current and future HMS classes, like previous generations, will adapt--and probably quite well.  Without evidence, I can only imagine that physicians of these new generations will be buoyed by the exciting opportunities available to them--based on remarkable new science, unimaginable (to us in 1973) computational and bioinformatic technologies, and vastly different interpersonal professional (team) relationships that will form the basis of the way they practice--without being hindered by trying to reproduce the past.

I would be most grateful if there is any way that I could assist the Alumni Council in continuing to advance the broad range of achievement that makes HMS unique.


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Paula Kushlan

Classes of 1970–1974

Paula Kushlan, MD ’74
Palo Alto, CA

Medical Oncologist, Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group


Paula Kushlan was raised in South Jersey. Her parents died when she was young and she was raised by her uncle, a general practitioner in an era when your family doctor meant so much. Everyone in town knew him, and it was hard for him to get through town without people thanking him, or giving him gifts. From this early age, she knew the impact that a smart, compassionate doctor could have on a family and in a community.

Paula attended Brandeis University and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in  1970. She attended Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1974 AOA, and with an award for being an outstanding woman in medicine. While at Harvard, she spent time at all of the Harvard hospitals, then did a medical internship at the Beth Israel Hospital under the  tutelage of Lowell Schnipper. She moved to San Francisco in 1975 so her husband could do GI at UCSF. Paula did her medical residency at UCSF from 1975 to 1977.

Initially slated to return to Boston to do her oncology fellowship at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, plans changed and she did her oncology under Saul Rosenberg at Stanford Medical School from 1977 to 1979. She stayed on as junior faculty from 1979-1981, including covering Dr. Rosenberg’s clinics while he was on sabbatical. At Stanford, she received the Russell V. Lee Award – an honor given by interns and residents to acknowledge excellence in teaching.

In July of 1981, with offers to remain at Stanford or to leave academia for practice, she joined the Palo Alto Medical Clinic and has practiced oncology there for thirty-four years.  Paula has seen her department grow from two oncologists, each with a nurse, to six oncologists with a now huge staff of medical assistants, practice nurses, infusion nurses, a social worker, and a dietician. She practices general oncology with a special interest in breast cancer and lymphoma.

For the first 12 years at the clinic, she spent one month each year attending on the Stanford Oncology  inpatient clinical service. Her children would be with her as she was with her uncle and noted the tears and many praises from her patients.

She has received many accolades for her patient care, has participated in tumor boards, has given many talks in the community. What a wonderful position to practice in a high quality large multispecialty medical group and to admit patients to Stanford Hospital where the house-staff and fellows participate in their care and have acknowledged the excellent teaching by Dr. Kushlan.

From 1992 to 1998, Dr. Kushlan was on the American Board of Internal Medicine committee that wrote the oncology boards. She was the first practitioner to participate and her work was well received.

She continues a full time practice in oncology. Her efforts are appreciated by her patients as indicated by her Press Ganey scores being above 97 percent in 2014.

In the community, she has participated in Pathways Hospice for 34 years, initially as a volunteer medical director and now on the board. She has twice received the “One from the Heart Award” given annually to a medical professional who is dedicated to hospice care and its values, and was honored to be named a lifetime achievement award winner in 2013.

Kushlan also serves on the  board of Breast Cancer Connections – a patient information and advocacy group for women with breast cancer.

Dr. Kushlan has two sons and resides in Palo Alto, California.


I am honored to be asked to run for and would be delighted to serve on the Alumni Council. My years at Harvard were not only an incredible learning experience, but opened doors to my future endeavors. I appreciated all that I received from Harvard and continue to receive in relationships with mentors and colleagues. It would be very meaningful for me to give back to the school by engaging in activities to stimulate alumni to participate in our Alma Mater and to ultimately help the students of today.

My years at Harvard Medical School set the stage for a wonderful career. The pre-clinical years were excellent – especially the exposure to top stars in every field. I fondly remember the Saturday morning “show and tell” of first year and I remember each case that was presented!  The clinical years were superb – the exposure to outstanding clinicians – faculty and house staff alike paved my burning desire to care for patients and especially very sick ones.

Throughout my career – amazing – I graduated in 1974 -  41 years ago – I have cherished my relationships with my mentors and colleagues.

Graduating from Harvard opened many doors for me that led to an outstanding career. Not only was I privileged to train with the best and brightest during internship, residency and fellowship, but my Harvard Medical School experience led to my being invited to serve for six years for the American Board of Internal Medicine, writing the oncology boards.

The practice of medicine is tougher today than ten years ago as the world tries to make the practice of medicine into a business. I still love what I do – no one can interfere with my interaction with the patient when the door is closed. I hope to serve on the council to involve other practicing alumni to give back and become more involved. And, I want to give to the students of today an experience like I had forty years ago.

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Alumni Council

2014 - 2015

The Council is composed of 15 members, representing alumni by pentads, elected to a three-year term and meeting three times annually. The Council serves a consultative and advisory role to the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School by listening and responding to current issues. It also appoints, in consultation with the Dean, the Chair of Alumni Relations and the Chair of the Alumni Fund.

2016 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 possess a willingness to listen to fellow alumni and bring their 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.

Constitution & By-Laws of the


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

For more information, please contact:

Office of Alumni Relations
(617) 384-8520