This Little Light

2018 Dean’s Community Service Awards celebrate service to others

This Little Light
Image: Jeff Thibault/HMS

Making paintings accessible to the visually impaired, helping a community come together to fight substance use disorder, providing assistance to children transitioning out of the Rhode Island foster care system, documenting the history of LGBTQ people in Boston. These are but a few examples of the ways that Harvard Medical School students, faculty, trainees and staff are serving communities near and far, on their own time and, often, on their own dime.

These community service superstars were recognized and celebrated for shining a bit of light on our world at a breakfast ceremony in Gordon Hall on June 5.

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In front of a full and festive Waterhouse Room, HMS Dean George Q. Daley congratulated the awardees and addressed HMS faculty and staff, expressing his gratitude for the dedication to public service exemplified by the award recipients.

“You devote countless hours to helping others … [and] your commitment to your respective communities also advances the mission of Harvard Medical School, which includes not only research and education but also service,” Daley said.

HSDM Dean R. Bruce Donoff cited the dental school’s “long and rich history of community service attending to the oral health needs of individuals from poor and underserved communities,” noting that the service-minded individuals at HMS and HSDM belie the popular reputation of universities as “elitist.”

They are far from that, Donoff said.  Rather, they are made up of people who “do the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

The Dean’s Community Service Award was established in 1999 to honor individuals at the medical and dental schools who make outstanding personal contributions to the local, national or international community. To recognize and support the work of these individuals, HMS contributes $1,000 to the organizations they serve.

Joan Reede, HMS dean for diversity inclusion and community partnership, presented the awards, expressing gratitude for the level of support that the School extends to those who “don’t only talk the talk, but walk the walk.”

Reede introduced each award recipient, giving a short description of their project and then formally presenting the awards. She closed the ceremony with the reminder that “service comes in many forms, and one’s contributions need not be heroic or hugely financial in scope; it is about giving of your time, your talents, making a difference, and having an impact.”

2018 Dean’s Community Service Award recipients and organizations they serve:


Joan Ilacqua

Project Archivist, Archives for Women in Medicine, Countway Library of Medicine

The History Project: Documenting LGBTQ Boston


Katherine Roche

HMS Class 2019

Newton Athletes Unlimited

Constantine Tarabanis

HMS Class of 2019

Haptic Art


Daniel Ram

Research Fellow in Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess

Fostering Hope

Emily Rosenberg

Resident in Internal Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess



Li-Li Hsiao

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s

Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program

Laura Kehoe

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mass General Watertown Access Education Resources

Brian Swann

HSDM Assistant Professor of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)

Erica Warner

HMS Assistant Professor of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston