Campus & Community


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Alegría honored by APA

Margarita Alegría, director of the Harvard-affiliated Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research at Cambridge Health Alliance, has received the Simon Bolivar Award presented by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The award honors a prominent Hispanic statesman or spokesperson and raises awareness of the problems and goals of Hispanics. Alegría recently accepted the prize at the APA’s 2009 Annual Meeting, held in San Francisco, where she also delivered the Simon Bolivar Lecture, “Prevalence, Risk, and Correlates of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Across Ethnic and Racial Minority Groups in the U.S.”

Alegría has forged an international reputation for her research on disparities in mental health and substance abuse services and her commitment to improving access, equity, and quality of these services for disadvantaged and minority populations. In addition to her leadership role at the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, she is a professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is currently the principal investigator of two National Institute of Mental Health-funded research studies: the Advanced Center for Mental Health Disparities, which focuses on research to increase the understanding of factors affecting mental health service disparities in Latinos and other minorities, and the National Latino and Asian American Study, a large epidemiological national study.

Losos to receive naturalist award

The American Society of Naturalists has announced that Jonathan B. Losos, the Monique and Philip Lehner Professor for the Study of Latin America and curator in herpetology, has been named the 2009 recipient of the E.O. Wilson Naturalist Award. The award, established in recognition of Wilson’s lifetime contributions to ecology and evolutionary biology, is given each year to a scholar who has made significant contributions to the knowledge of a particular ecosystem or group of organisms.

Losos’ work with anole lizards in the West Indies has contributed fundamentally to the understanding of the roles of natural selection, competition, and niche evolution in shaping assemblages of Anolis species.

Reimers named to the Global Agenda Council on Education

Fernando M. Reimers, the Ford Foundation Professor of International Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has been selected to join the Global Agenda Council on Education of the World Economic Forum. This group of 12 global leaders will advise the forum on global education issues and will convene at a meeting in Dubai in November to craft an agenda for the Council on Education.

Reimers, who focuses his research and teaching on identifying education policies that support teachers in helping low-income children succeed academically, was also presented an honorary degree in Humane Letters on May 18 from Emerson College for his work promoting the improvement of educational opportunities in developing countries and human rights and named to the Boston Museum of Science Board of Overseers on June 11. At the museum, he will serve a three-year term and help to shape its programs.

Gates to film ‘Faces of America’

Since 2006, Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, has helped people find long-buried details of their recent and distant ancestries by restoring the branches of their individual family trees and then analyzing their DNA.

In “Faces of America,” a new, four-part PBS series written and presented by Gates, he expands the role of DNA science by sequencing the full human genome for two of the series’ participants, revealing detailed information about their ancestral makeup.

“We will reveal in rich detail the fascinating stories about our guests’ ancestors, both since their arrival as immigrants to the United States, and before their arrival here, in the countries from which they emigrated,” said Gates. “We hope to show how immigration of peoples from around the globe so profoundly has reshaped what it means to be ‘an American’ and continues to affect how we talk about identity throughout our society today.”

Currently in production throughout Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Asia, the anticipated PBS broadcast of the documentary is 2010.

Nikolov receives population and economic development fellowship

Plamen Nikolov, a third-year Ph.D. student in health economics and graduate associate of the Harvard Institute of Quantitative Social Studies and Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, has been selected as one of the eight fellows for the Hewlett/IIE Dissertation Fellowship in Population and Economic Development. These fellowships support dissertation research on topics that examine how population dynamics and health influence economic development, including economic growth, poverty reduction, and equity. Nikolov currently works with a team in the Lawrence Katz National Bureau of Economic Research on quantifying the effect of neighborhoods on economic and health outcomes in ongoing large randomized housing mobility experiments in the United States. Nikolov’s current research focuses on issues of development and health and, in particular, the economics of infectious disease in Africa.

Harvard undergraduates receive prize for work in math modeling

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) has presented the SIAM Award in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling (SIAM/MCM Award) to Harvard College seniors Christopher Chang, Zhou Fan, and Yi Sun and their faculty adviser Clifford Taubes, the William Petschek Professor of Mathematics.

The Mathematical Contest in Modeling challenges teams of undergraduate students to clarify, analyze, and propose solutions to open-ended problems. Established in 1988, the SIAM/MCM Award is presented to two teams judged “outstanding” in the annual MCM, and attracts diverse students and faculty advisers from more than 500 institutions around the world.