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Harvard T.H. Chan School community

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan Community,

In light of her announcement earlier today, I write to express my thanks to Michelle Williams for her extraordinary service as dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

An internationally recognized epidemiologist and award-winning educator, known for her influential studies of maternal and child health around the world, Michelle has served the School in leadership roles for over a decade, first as chair of the Department of Epidemiology and most recently as dean. In these roles, Michelle has embraced our collective imperative to understand and confront public health challenges worldwide and to serve the public health through the transformative impact of education, research, and discovery. A champion of collaboration, she has strengthened connections and programs with other Harvard schools as she has explored new and creative avenues for, as she memorably put it, “purposeful action,” including the launch of the Apple Women’s Health Study.

Under Michelle’s leadership during the historic public health crisis posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty proved themselves to be an invaluable resource to governments and the public at large. Drawing from that experience, Michelle has used her convening power to pull together experts across different sectors, including from finance, health, and industry, to tackle vital questions. How can business and public health leaders best move forward cooperatively to face pandemics? How can we build capacity and coalitions now and in the future? What possibilities lie ahead for humanity with the help of the Harvard Chan School?

Provost Garber and I will soon launch a search for the next dean, and we will have more to say about that process in the time ahead. For now, we hope you will join us in thanking Michelle for her service to the University, especially throughout the pandemic, and in wishing her well as she returns to the faculty to continue her research, teaching, and mentoring.

All the best,


P.S. If you have thoughts on the opportunities and challenges facing the Harvard Chan School, or on the deanship, you may share them in confidence at