We all are impacted by, and reap the benefits of, medical research discoveries. From over-the-counter drugs, to healthcare policies and educational interventions, many of these advancements are a result of incredible feats, decades of work, and sometimes serendipitous events. Join us as we sit down with Harvard researchers to discuss these captivating behind-the-scenes stories of research.
Ayesha Cammaerts, MBA, Boston Children’s Hospital Office of Community Health, and Hae In Kim, MPH, former intern in our Community Engagement program student practice placement initiative, discuss Kim’s experience as an intern working under the guidance of Cammaerts and what makes student practice placements successful. The program is designed to build sustained, bi-directional collaborations between community organizations and Harvard University, and to develop practical community engagement skills while increasing the capacity of local partners. Rebekka Lee, ScD, our Community Engagement program director, serves as guest host.
Ayesha Cammaerts, MBA, serves as the senior manager of community programs at Boston Children’s Hospital Office of Community Health. There, she leads the Birth to 5 Child Health and Development Initiative, a 10-year, $17 million grant program to support early childhood success across greater Boston. Cammaerts also manages the triennial community health needs assessment and implementation strategy for the hospital. She is a strong advocate for families and racial justice as a member of the Boston Opportunity Agenda 0-8 Leadership team, the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative Steering Committee, and the Boston CHNA-CHIP Collaborative. Previously, Cammaerts worked at Massachusetts Medicaid supporting the implementation of the state healthcare reform. She also has experience as a community health worker, clinical health educator, program manager, and parent and family advocate. She earned her MBA in health care policy and management from the Heller School at Brandeis.
Hae In Kim, MPH, is deputy director of planning and development at the Mayor’s Office of Food Access, where she helps the office plan how to meet the immediate and long-term food needs of Bostonians. Additionally, she works with partners to address food insecurity in Boston. Kim holds a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Rebekka Lee, ScD, is a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She has spent over a decade working at the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity, where she uses mixed methods to conduct research and evaluation with partners at the Boston Public Health Commission, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and YMCA. Her research focuses on designing and evaluating community-based interventions that translate into real world policy and environmental change, focusing in particular on investigating the contextual factors that impact effective implementation and promote health equity. She also serves as the director for the Community Engagement program at Harvard Catalyst, providing capacity building on mixed methods, implementation science, and community-based participatory research. At the Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity, Lee is co-director of the Administrative Core and leads a pilot on evidence-based cancer prevention through clinical-community partnerships. She teaches courses on program planning and program evaluation and is the co-director of Leaders in Health community training program.
We’re surrounded everyday with the realization that patients and their diseases can teach us something,” says David Sykes, principal investigator of Sykes Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. Sykes discusses a system he’s developed to transfuse neutrophil progenitors for patients and a new disease he discovered called TEMPI.
David Sykes, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor within the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). His research aims to develop new treatments for patients with benign and malignant blood disorders. Sykes completed his undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the University of Alberta and moved to La Jolla, California to begin the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of California San Diego. He then completed his medical internship and residency at MGH and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the combined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and MGH Cancer Center program. Sykes spent a year as chief resident in the Department of Medicine before starting his postdoctoral research at the Center for Regenerative Medicine, where he has since stayed on as a principal investigator.
Junaid Nabi, MD, MPH, a senior researcher at Harvard Business School, shares his research investigating healthcare access and quality of care.
Junaid Nabi, MD, MPH, is a public health researcher and medical journalist. A senior researcher at Harvard Business School, he is examining how value-based healthcare strategy can transform care delivery and promote health equity. He is also a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute and a fellow at the Harvard Graduate School Leadership Incubator. His previous projects at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital included investigating health system factors that lead to racial disparities in cancer care, evaluating the economic impact of innovative medical technologies, and implementation of novel digital decision support tools into electronic medical records. His ongoing research in medical ethics and global health policy includes studying global health colonialism and healthcare equity, understanding the role of bioethics in artificial intelligence-based medical decision-making systems, and applying principles of behavioral economics in the delivery of healthcare.
Jorge Chavarro, MD, ScD, ScM, of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discusses his research studying the impact of nutrition on fertility.
Jorge Chavarro, MD, ScM, ScD, is an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He investigates the role of diet, and the interaction between dietary and genetic factors in the pathogenesis of diseases affecting reproductive and hormone sensitive organs, such as prostate cancer. He is currently investigating how different dietary and lifestyle factors are related to male and female fertility and infertility treatment outcomes with the goal of identifying strategies for fertility preservation in cancer survivors and the general population.
Gyongi Szabo, MD, PhD, Hon. ScD, chief academic officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discusses her research on the effects of alcohol on the liver.
Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, Hon. ScD, is chief academic officer at both Beth Israel Lahey Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she oversees the institutions’ research and teaching programs and supports basic, translational, and clinical research. Additionally, she leads a laboratory which focuses on finding cures for liver inflammation. Szabo earned her medical degree at the University Medical School in Debrecen, Hungary, and her doctoral degree from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Neurologist Samuel Frank, MD, discusses his work studying Huntington’s disease, dystonia, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as his involvement in clinical research studies to help better diagnose and treat patients with these movement disorders.
Samuel A. Frank, MD, is director of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and associate professor of neurology. He completed his fellowship in experimental therapeutics with a focus on movement disorders. In addition, Frank directs research and leads clinical trials as part of BIDMC’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center. His goal is to develop treatments to improve the lives of patients with Parkinson’s disease.
“42.4% of U.S. adults have the disease of obesity,” says Fatima Cody Stanford, obesity medicine physician scientist, educator, and policy maker at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Stanford discusses her research and policy work on obesity and weight discrimination laws.
Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP, FAHA, FTOS, is an obesity medicine physician scientist, educator, and policy maker at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS). She is a national and international sought-after expert in obesity medicine who bridges the intersection of medicine, public health, policy, and disparities.
Stanford received her BS and MPH from Emory University, MD from the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine, and MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She completed her obesity medicine and nutrition fellowship at MGH/HMS after completing her internal medicine and pediatrics residency at the University of South Carolina.
“External scientific review gives us a better chance of identifying proposals that might have a big impact on the wellbeing of our community,” says Margaret Schneider, director of the Pilot Studies program at the University of California Irvine. Schneider discusses her role in the creation of the CTSA External Reviewer Exchange Consortium (CEREC), which coordinates scientific review for funding applications submitted to centers that are part of the national NIH-funded CTSA consortium, which includes Harvard Catalyst.
Margaret Schneider, PhD, is a research professor in the Department of Planning, Policy and Design within the school of social ecology at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She is also associate director and director of evaluation and pilot studies within the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science at UCI. Schneider has conducted independent and team-based research into obesity prevention among adolescents, particularly among youth who are at risk by virtue of economic circumstances and/or physical inactivity. For the past eight years, she has directed the tracking and evaluation efforts for UCI’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), and has recently taken on the additional responsibility of running the Pilot Award program funded through the CTSA.
Hardeep Ranu, PhD, is a project manager for Translational Innovator and is responsible for managing a diverse set of clinical and translational research project teams. Ranu joined Harvard Catalyst from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she managed the TaqMan genotyping core for 13 years. As the genotyping project manager, Ranu worked with faculty of Harvard Medical School, Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School affiliated hospitals, and external institutions to design and develop genotyping projects. Her role as genotyping project manager involved coordinating with two funding entities, the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) and Partners Healthcare|Personalized Medicine as well as working with senior management and faculty from DF/HCC to write and prepare reports for DF/HCC submissions and renewals.