Public Health/Global Health

Why Public Health?

Urged by a COVID pandemic that has raised immediate concern about the safety and well-being of our school communities and forced us to consider the intersection of health and justice, we have chosen PUBLIC HEALTH/GLOBAL HEALTH as our theme for the 2022/23 Humanities Workshop cycle. With broad reach into contemporary issues with local implications, such as the legal debate on abortion rights, the opioid crisis, and the care of refugee communities, this theme gives our students the agency to ask questions, engage in research, and shape narrative, as they join a local and global conversation about health policy and care in a critical moment. 

  • How has the COVID pandemic asked us to rethink what responsibility to a community looks like?
  • How do we ensure equitable access to healthcare, particularly in the context of systemic oppressions and economic inequality? 
  • How does the climate crisis challenge us to develop new strategies to ensure health justice?  

Such questions demand deeply engaged and innovative pedagogy that helps our students develop the skill sets to make real-world change.

Panel on Public Health

Welcoming experts in public health, the Humanities Workshop convened a forum to examine challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of supporting mental health—particularly among young people in our communities.
Watch this panel discussion and read about about the event on or in this Milton Times article.

About the Panelists

Panel Moderator

Kay Lazar is a public health reporter at the Boston Globe, who specializes in holding public institutions accountable. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting in 2013, as part of a Globe team that covered a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak. She received a 2013 National Press Club award for excellence in writing on issues facing the elderly. She joined the Globe in 2004.


Chastity Bowick is an award-winning activist, civil rights leader, and transgender health advocate. She is currently the Executive Director of the Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts, Inc., the leading crisis agency for transgender communities in Massachusetts. Chastity also serves as a board member of the Boston Women’s Fund and of LGBT Senior Housing; she is a founding board member of Trans Resistance MA. Prior to her work with TEF and Trans Resistance MA, Chastity served as a board member of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition from 2014 to 2018, an organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. Chasity has been awarded several accolades for her dedication to community activism, including the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth 2018 Advancing Equity Award, the 2018 PrEP for Pride Community Service Award presented by Fenway Health and Lee Entertainment, the 2020 Audre Lorde Trailblazer Award presented by Fenway Health, the History Project’s 2020 Lavender Rhino Award, and the Trans Resistance MA 2020 Transgender Day of Remembrance Resiliency Award. Get Konnected also named Chasity among the 25 Most Influential LGBTQ+ People of Color in Greater Boston in 2020. In 2021, Chastity received Mass Now`s Feminist in Action Award and Bay State Stonewall Democrats Holly Ryan Spirit of Community Award. The 2022 Ad Equity Project awarded Chastity the LGBTQIA+ Champion Award.

Dr. Kathryn Hall is the Deputy Commissioner for Population Health and Health Equity at the Boston Public Health Commission. Dr. Hall is also an Assistant Professor part-time in the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and serves as the Interim Director of Basic and Translational Research at Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the placebo effect and in particular how the absence of placebo and presence of nocebo effects influence health equity. Dr. Hall is the author of Placebos, MIT Press, and has a Masters in Documentary Film from Emerson College.

Dr. Reena Pande, is the former Chief Medical Officer of AbleTo, an organization dedicated to delivering highest quality virtual mental health services across the nation. She has served as a passionate voice for the need to bridge the gaps between medical health and behavioral health. Dr. Pande was previously a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and instructor at Harvard Medical School. She earned her undergraduate degree in Biology from Harvard University, her M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a Masters degree in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her internship, residency training, and fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease and Vascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Giuseppe (Bepi) Raviola is a physician and psychiatrist who serves as Director of Mental Health for Partners In Health (PIH), Director of the Program in Global Mental Health and Social Change (PGMHSC) at Harvard Medical School, and Associate Director of the Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Over the past two decades he has accompanied local, front-line implementers of mental health service delivery programs, who often work in challenging circumstances, in both providing urgently needed care and in building mental health care delivery systems for the long-term. This has included developing collaborative community-based mental health services embedded in the public sector in Rwanda, Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chiapas, Peru and elsewhere. From a humanities perspective his work is trans-disciplinary. He brought interests in history, culture and mental health to his training in medical school, has applied principles of social medicine to his work, and also practices clinically as a child and adolescent psychiatrist in the Boston area. In 2020 Dr. Raviola led the mental health component of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Contact Tracing Collaborative for COVID-19. In this role he translated global practices in effective psychological support delivered in communities by non-specialist providers to the Massachusetts context, training several thousand people to support individuals and families in distress in the context of the initial pandemic emergency. He has been recognized for outstanding contributions to the care and understanding of the victims of disaster, and for building teams and bridging disciplines for the benefit of public mental health across contexts.

Dr. Michael Stein is a physician, health policy researcher, and thought leader in the field of public health. He currently serves as the Chair and Professor of Health Law, Policy & Management at the Boston University School of Public Health. Prior to his appointment at Boston University, he served as Professor of Medicine and Director of the Behavioral Medicine and Addiction Research at Brown University. For the past three decades, Dr. Stein has produced work that has spanned the topics of sleep and pain, addiction and HIV/AIDS, mental health and behavioral risk-taking, health care access and quality. He is the author of 10 books and has published more than 400 scientific journal articles. In the public space, he has published widely, including in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and his work has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air and in O Magazine. He is the Executive Editor of Public Health Post.