Campus & Community

Nicholas and Erika Christakis new master, co-master of Pforzheimer

3 min read

Nicholas and Erika Christakis have been appointed as master and co-master of Pforzheimer House.

Nicholas Christakis is an internist and social scientist who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity. He is a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; professor of medical sociology in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School (HMS); and an attending physician in the Department of Medicine at the Harvard-affiliated Mount Auburn Hospital. He is on the executive committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at Harvard.

Christakis received his B.S. summa cum laude from Yale University, his M.D. cum laude from HMS, his M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. Christakis’ current work is principally concerned with health and social networks. This work takes seriously the contention that because people are interconnected, their health is interconnected. His past work has examined the accuracy and role of prognosis in medicine and ways of improving end-of-life and palliative care.

Erika Christakis is the director of the Newtowne School, a parent cooperative preschool where experienced teachers work closely with families to create a nurturing, play-based learning environment. She is committed to teaching practices that respect children’s ideas, strengths, and needs. She is passionate about children’s literacy and loves reading and telling stories.

Erika Christakis graduated cum laude from Harvard College. She received an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University, an M.A. in communications from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.Ed. from Lesley University. Prior to her work in education Christakis spent several years working in the area of public health and focused on topics such as women’s health, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse treatment, and mental health.

Nicholas and Erika have three children. The Christakis family will also be bringing along their pet bunny, Funny, who will be renamed Pfunny upon his move to Pforzheimer House. The Christakises look forward to fostering house community through house-based events and continuing to build a cohesive tutorial staff.

Jim and Sue McCarthy were house masters at Pforzheimer for 13 years and will step down at the end of this school year. During their time at Pforzheimer House the McCarthys have worked to enhance students’ educational experience through their informal interactions, as well as fostered a warm and welcoming residential community.