2023 Harvard Chan School Alumni Awards announced

Top (left to right): Megan Murray, Stephen Tollman, Anita Zaidi; bottom (left to right): Michael Miedema, Diagaunet Dodie, Thumbi Ndung’u

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The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Alumni Association recently announced the recipients of the 2023 Alumni Awards. The awards will be presented during this year’s Alumni Weekend, which takes place September 28-30.

Alumni Award of Merit

Megan Murray, MPH ’97, SD ’01

One of the world’s leading experts on tuberculosis, Murray conducted studies that changed how we treat the disease, including by challenging the long-held assumption that drug-resistant TB was less transmissible and by investigating risk factors such as micronutrient deficiencies and diabetes. Murray also lends her expertise to outbreaks and health emergencies, like when she helped evaluate the efficiency of a new rapid test to diagnose Ebola during the 2014-2016 epidemic in West Africa.

Stephen Tollman, MPH ’88

As a medical student in South Africa under apartheid, Tollman saw first-hand the impact that state-sanctioned discrimination could have on health and human rights. Since the 1990s, he has helped strengthen South and sub-Saharan Africa’s research capacity by generating significant funds for research, training local public health leaders, and co-founding the INDEPTH Network, a research network and population-based platform. In 1992 Tollman founded Agincourt, a longitudinal R&D system that has become a world-renowned model for population-based research.

Anita Zaidi, SM ’99

Zaidi was part of the first graduating class of doctors at Aga Khan University (AKU) in her native Pakistan, receiving the school’s inaugural “Best Medical Graduate Award.” She became AKU’s first female chair of pediatrics, established South Asia’s first training program in pediatric infectious diseases as a clinical specialty, and won the first $1 million Caplow Children’s Prize to support her efforts to reduce child mortality in Rehri Goth, a poor suburb of Karachi. In 2020, she became the first-ever president of Gender Equality at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Emerging Public Health Professional Award

Michael Miedema, MPH ’13

Miedema is the Medical Director for the Nolan Family Center for Cardiovascular Health at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. Beyond his clinical work, Miedema has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, serves as an active investigator for randomized trials focused on cardiovascular health, and supports a population-based program designed to reduce cardiovascular risk in rural Minnesota.

Public Health Innovator Award

Diagaunet Dodie, MPH ’14

When his father experienced kidney failure, Dodie witnessed the consequences of illegal blood trafficking in his native Ivory Coast. In response, he created Innovative Healthcare Solutions (HIS). He and his team turned a media spotlight on the shortages and the resulting tragedies. In the face of public pressure, the government dropped the price of a blood bag from as high as $150, to $6.

Leadership in Public Health Practice Award

Thumbi Ndung’u, PhD ’01

Ndung’u serves as deputy director at the African Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa. His career contributions in HIV and TB research have advanced and deepened the pursuit of vaccine and immune-based cure strategies. His multidisciplinary studies link immunology to virology and offer a platform for clinical interventions toward cure and eradication strategies.