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41st Annual Breslow Distinguished Lecture Focuses on Eliminating Health Disparities, Defining Public Health

This year’s Lester Breslow Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, asked the audience to reconsider the role of culture in public health. The Fielding School also honored three new Alumni Hall of Fame inductees and winners of the student writing competition.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Bresow lecturer, alumni, students, Dean Heymann, Devra Breslow, Jonathan Fielding
2015 Breslow Distinguished Lecture, Alumni Hall of Fame and Student Writing Competition honorees with Dean Jody Heymann, Dr. Ray Goodman, Ms. Devra Breslow and Dr. Jonathan Fielding.

On April 1, the Fielding School hosted the 41st Annual Lester Breslow Distinguished Lecture, dedicated to the memory of former FSPH professor, Dean Emeritus and renowned public health leader Dr. Lester Breslow. The event also included the induction of three 2015 FSPH Alumni Hall of Fame honorees and presentations by the 2015 Breslow Student Writing Competition finalists.

This year’s Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, professor of Community Health Sciences, spoke on reconceptualizing culture into factors that can be used to widen the traditional framework for researching and improving health. 

The 2015 Alumni Hall of Fame inductees all have spent their careers working to eliminate health disparities in their communities. Doris Browne, MD, MPH '68, is a medical oncologist and medical management expert who has dedicated her life to prevention and education programs related to cancer, women's health, HIV/AIDS and chronic diseases, as well as to enhancing participation of minority and underserved populations in clinical trials. Mario Ricardo Calderón, MD, MPH '84, has spent more than 25 years fostering leaders in public health and international development in dozens of countries, including El Salvador where he served as national director of World Vision El Salvador. In 1973, Fred Wasserman, DrPH '76, MBA, MPH '72, formed a group practice of physicians that grew to become one of the first Federally Qualified HMOs in the U.S. He and his wife Pamela have long worked towards improving the quality of health care in the U.S. and reforming health care policy.

With recent outbreaks raising awareness of public health all over the world, this year's five Breslow Student Writing Competition finalists had to answer the following question: The Ebola epidemic in West Africa and its appearance in the United States and other countries is a reminder of the continuing need for public health. Many people don’t know what public health is and how it affects their lives. If you had five minutes to explain the most critical ways public health affects lives, locally, nationally or globally, what would you say and what would you ask people to do?

Each finalist was selected by their respective Fielding School academic department:

Theirs presentations were so compelling that the competition ended in a tie between Lauren Harrell and Jacob Beckerman, chosen by a panel of distinguished judges as winners of the $5,000 grand prize, courtesy of the Breslow Student Fellowship Fund. Because of the tie, an anonymous donor contributed a second $5,000 prize so both students could receive the full scholarship. Each of the finalists also received $1,000 from Molina Healthcare, which co-sponsored the competition. (All finalists' writing submissions can be found at the end of this article) 

The Lester Breslow Distinguished Lecture was created 41 years ago by Dr. Ray Goodman, also a graduate of the Fielding School and one of the first inductees into the FSPH Alumni Hall of Fame.

Watch Videos from the Event

Dr. Marjorie Kagawa-Singer delivers her lecture, "Makin' Do or Making Anew"
Student winners posing with Devra Breslow and Molina Healthcare
Student Writing Competition finalists, pictured here with Devra Breslow and Molina Healthcare representatives Chris Mardesich and Daniel Barzman, all received $1,000 prizes, with $5,000 scholarships going to the grand prize winners.

2015 Alumni Hall of Fame Honorees with FSPH Dean Jody Heymann

2015 Alumni Hall of Fame Honorees. Left to right: Dr. Mario Ricardo Calderón, FSPh Dean Jody Heymann, Dr. Doris Browne, Dr. Fred Wasserman.