Campus & Community

Manson, Schuker honored for leadership

5 min read

JoAnn E. Manson, chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine and co-director of the Connors Center for Womens Health and Gender Biology, Brigham and Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School, has been named the recipient of the 2006 Harvard College Womens Professional Achievement Award.

Lauren A.E. Schuker, a Harvard senior, is the student winner of the 2006 Harvard College Women’s Leadership Award.

Both women, honored for exceptional skills as leaders and role models, will receive their awards at a ceremony and dinner on April 26 at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge.

Manson, who is also the Elizabeth F. Brigham Professor of Women’s Health and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, received her A.B. degree in 1975, M.P.H. in 1984, and Dr.P.H. in 1987, all from Harvard, and was selected for making a broad impact in medical research and health care delivery focused on women. As one of the lead investigators on several landmark women’s health studies, including the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Women’s Antioxidant and Cardiovascular Study, her research has particularly addressed the role of lifestyle factors, diet, antioxidant and other micronutrient supplementation, and hormone replacement therapy as predictors of cardiovascular disease in women.

Manson has studied extensively the role of moderate-intensity exercise (including brisk walking) as compared with vigorous exercise in the prevention of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and breast cancer in women, as well as multiple genetic markers that identify women at increased risk of these diseases. She has received numerous awards and honors, including being named one of 10 “Heroes in Women’s Health” by American Health for Women magazine in 1997, one of the top 10 “Champions of Women’s Health” by Ladies Home Journal in 2000, one of Boston’s “Top Docs for Women” by Boston Magazine in 2001, the Henry Ingersoll Bowditch Award for Excellence in Public Health from the Massachusetts Medical Society in 2002, and the “Woman in Science” Award from the American Medical Women’s Association in 2003. She is also the mother of a daughter and two sons.

“A woman whose name can be found almost weekly in the Tuesday Science section of The New York Times as the latest findings of the WHI are released, Dr. Manson is an outstanding role model for our students – natural scientists, social scientists, and humanists alike – and I am very pleased that Harvard College will celebrate her exceptional leadership in science and her notable achievements on behalf of women,” said Julia G. Fox, assistant dean of Harvard College and director of the Ann Radcliffe Trust in Harvard College.

Schuker, a concentrator in English and American literature and language, stepped down in February after a year as president of the Harvard Crimson, one of the most visible and influential leadership roles for an undergraduate at the College. During her tenure as chief executive of Harvard’s only daily newspaper, she navigated the Crimson through months of reporting on the state of the University at a challenging time. Rising ably to the challenge of leading a complex organization of 350 students, she succeeded in building a strong, collaborative team recognized for balanced reporting on which national newspapers came to depend. Among her many accomplishments at the Crimson, Schuker co-founded the Harvard Crimson Summer Journalism Academy, a weeklong program to teach journalism skills to inner-city high school students, and founded the Crimson Alumni Mentoring Program, which matches Crimson alumni with students who share professional and personal interests.

Schuker has won accolades for her academic work as well and will represent Harvard as a Marshall Scholar at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where initially she will pursue a one-year master’s degree, planning to specialize in the history of art after World War II. Peter Burgard, professor of German, said that Schuker is “an inspiring model of leadership for all undergraduate women … an outstanding person with a brilliant future.”

Said Louis Menand, Bass Professor of English and American Literature and Language, Schuker is “one of the nicest and friendliest people here” and “one of those people who you know will end up running the world someday.”

In addition to recognition of Manson and Schuker, the College will honor seniors Stacey Borden and Elise Stefanik, both honorable mentions for the Women’s Leadership Award.

Now in their ninth year, the Harvard College Women’s Leadership Awards are funded through an endowment established with a gift from Harvard alumna Terrie Fried Bloom ’75. The Harvard College Women’s Leadership Awards are part of the Ann Radcliffe Trust in Harvard College, a resource for women undergraduates, which seeks to raise the visibility of women and women’s issues at Harvard and beyond.

The student prize goes to a junior or senior who has demonstrated exceptional leadership while attending Harvard, contributed toward the advancement of women, achieved meaningful impact on fellow students, and exhibited a potential for leadership in future endeavors.

“We are very pleased by the support the award continues to receive from the Harvard community,” said Fox. “The selection committee faced an exceedingly difficult challenge in choosing one award recipient from a very strong and deserving pool of outstanding candidates.”

The selection committee included Fox; Judith L. Ryan, Robert K. and Dale J. Weary Professor of German and Comparative Literature; Susan Vacca ’76, associate director and librarian in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Office of Career Services; Erin Ashwell ’02, emerita member of the Executive Board of the Women’s Leadership Project; and Rani Yadav ’03, a member of the Women’s Leadership Project Alumnae Advisory Board.