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COVID-19 vaccines: Safe and effective for American Indian and Alaskan Native communities
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Harvard Health Blog Experts
List of Experts
Meera Sunder, MBBS, MRCOG
Dr. Sunder is a seasoned clinician whose medical career has spanned three continents. She is a primary care physician at the Cambridge Health Alliance, Massachusetts. Her interests include reproductive health, integrative medicine, health education, teaching and public health. She is a strong advocate of a holistic approach to medicine and wellness.
Scott Weiner, MD
Scott G. Weiner, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAAEM an Attending Emergency Physician and Assistant Clinical Director in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He is the Director of B-CORE: The Brigham Comprehensive Opioid Approach and Education Program.
Dr. Weiner completed his residency training at the Harvard-Affiliated Emergency Medicine Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and MPH degree at Harvard School of Public Health. He is on the executive board of the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians.
His research focuses on technological innovations that improve the care of ED patients presenting with pain, including usage and optimization of online prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and tablet-based screening tools.
Peter Grinspoon, MD
Peter Grinspoon, M.D. is the author of the memoir Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction. He currently practices as a primary care physician at an inner-city clinic in Boston and is on staff at Massachusetts General Hospital. He teaches medicine at Harvard Medical School. He spent two years as an Associate Director for the Physician Health Service, part of the Massachusetts Medical Society, working with physicians who suffer from substance use disorders.
Dr. Grinspoon graduated with honors in philosophy from Swarthmore College. Before medical school, he spent five years as a Campaign Director at Greenpeace, working on the nuclear free seas campaign. He attended medical school at Boston University School of Medicine. His internship and residency were in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Today he is proudly 10 years clean. He lives in Newton, MA with his wife Liz Grinspoon, and his blended family.”
James S. Gessner, MD
President Massachusetts Medical Society, Guest Contributor
James S. Gessner, M.D. is a physician with Anaesthesia Associates of Massachusetts, one of New England’s largest private practice anesthesiology groups serving major academic and medical centers throughout the Northeast.
Board-certified in anesthesiology and pediatrics, he holds appointments in anesthesiology at the New England Baptist Hospital, Boston Medical Center, and Mount Auburn Hospital.
A member of the Massachusetts Medical Society since 1982, he has served the organization in a variety of capacities, most recently as President-Elect and Vice President, respectively, over the last two years. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2006 and the Society’s governing body, its House of Delegates, since 2003. He chaired the Committee on Finance for nine years, from 2005-2014 and has been a member of the Committees on Administration and Management, Strategic Planning, Legislation, Bylaws, and Member Services. From 2001-2003, he was president of the Norfolk District Medical Society.
Dr. Gessner has long been active with anesthesia specialty societies, holding several leadership positions. He is a past president of the New England Society of Anesthesiologists and currently serves as its Secretary-Treasurer. From 1994-1995, he was president of the Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists, and he continues his service with that organization as a Government Officer and member of its Judicial Committee. On the national level, he was a Massachusetts delegate to the American Society of Anesthesiologists from 1984-2009.
A cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bowdoin College with an A.B., Dr. Gessner received a B.M.S. from Dartmouth Medical School in 1970 and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1972. He completed residencies in pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital and in anesthesiology at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1981.
Dr. Gessner has also served long tenures on several key hospital committees. From 1986-1996, he was a member of the Risk Management Committee in the Department of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School; from 1986-1995, he was Chairman of the Bioethics Committee at New England Deaconess Hospital; and from 1993-2013, he was a member of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee at Faulkner Hospital.
Since 2000, he has been an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Boston Medical Center, and was a Clinical Instructor in Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School from 1979-1998.
Laura Kiesel is Boston-area freelance writer whose articles and essays have appeared in The Guardian, Salon, Washington Post, The Fix, Vice, Al-Jazeera, The Atlantic, and many others. She is currently completing a collection of personal essays.
Glen Buchberger, MD
Glenn K. Buchberger, MD is a primary care physician for children and adults practicing at the CHA Everett Care Center in Everett, Massachusetts. He earned an A.B. in English Literature at Dartmouth College and completed his Medical Doctor degree and residency training in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, New York. As a resident he was involved in several projects to raise awareness of the dangers posed by excess sugar consumption. In addition to his primary care practice he provides office based treatment for opioid use disorder at a sister clinic in Revere, Massachusetts several times each month.
Robert John Waldinger, MD
Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and Zen priest. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and directs the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest-running studies of adult life ever done. The Study tracked the lives of two groups of men for over 78 years and now follows their Baby Boomer children to understand how childhood experience reaches across decades to affect health and wellbeing in middle age. He writes about what science can teach us about healthy human development.
Dr. Waldinger is the author of numerous scientific papers as well as two books, and he directs a teaching program in psychotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He has won awards for teaching and research from the American Psychiatric Association, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, and he is consistently named as one of the Best Doctors in America. He is also a transmitted teacher in Boundless Way Zen and teaches Zen throughout New England.
His TED talk on lessons from the longest study of happiness has had over 13 million views and is the fastest spreading talk in the history of TEDx events. Research updates and Dr. Waldinger’s writing can be found at www.robertwaldinger.com.
David R. Topor, PhD, MS-HPEd
Dr. Topor is a Clinical Psychologist and the Associate Director for Healthcare Professional Education at the VA Boston Healthcare System. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, CAS
Dr. Howard Jeffrey Shaffer is the Morris E. Chafetz Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Field of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Medical School; in addition, he is the Director of the Division on Addiction at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. Dr. Shaffer has served as principal or co-principal investigator on many government, foundation, and industry sponsored research projects around the world. Dr. Shaffer is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He served on the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Committee on the Social and Economic Impacts of Pathological Gambling. His professional appointments have included consultation to many national and international organizations, including consultation to the National Institutes of Health, The National Cancer Institute, The National Council on Marijuana and Health, The Icelandic Ministry of Health and Social Security, The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, the Tung Wah Hospital Group in Hong Kong, and The Massachusetts Departments of Mental and Public Health.
Dr. Shaffer is the author/editor of approximately 275 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 20 books or monographs, including the 2012 Choice Award for the APA Addiction Syndrome Handbook, with Drs. LaPlante and Nelson, and the 2012 Change Your Gambling, Change Your Life, with co-authors Ryan Martin, John Kleschinsky, and Liz Neporent.
Dr. Shaffer is the past editor of The Psychology of Addictive Behaviors and The Journal of Gambling Studies. Also, he is a founder and past associate editor of The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Dr. Shaffer serves as a member of many editorial boards and is as an ad hoc reviewer for many other scholarly journals. Dr. Shaffer has received many awards, including the 2010 American Psychological Association, Division 50, award for “Outstanding Contributions to Advancing the Understanding of Addictions.” During 2015, he received the Lifetime Research Award from the National Council on Problem Gambling.
Dr. Shaffer’s research, writing, and teaching have influenced how the health care field conceptualizes and treats the full range of addictive behaviors. His Syndrome Model of Addiction has gained broad acceptance, influencing how we think about both behavioral and substance-related addiction.
Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH
Emily Ruiz, MD, MPH, is an Associate Physician at the Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, an Instructor in Dermatology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the High-Risk Skin Cancer Clinic at Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Ruiz received her undergraduate degree from Duke University, medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, and Master of Public Health Degree from Harvard School of Public Health. She completed an internship in internal medicine at New York University School of Medicine, dermatology residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and fellowship in Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
John F. Kelly, PhD
Dr. Kelly is the Elizabeth R. Spallin Associate Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School-the first endowed professor in addiction medicine at Harvard. He is also the founder and Director of the Recovery Research Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Program Director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS) and the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH. Dr. Kelly is a former President of the American Psychological Association (APA) Society of Addiction Psychology, and is also a Fellow of the APA and a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He has served as a consultant to U.S. federal agencies and non-Federal institutions, and foreign governments. His clinical and research work has focused on addiction treatment and the recovery process, mechanisms of behavior change, and in reducing stigma and discrimination among individuals suffering from addiction.
Athos Bousvaros, MD
Athos Bousvaros MD, MPH is a pediatric gastroenterologist who has worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for over 25 years. He completed his undergraduate degree at Williams College, his medical degree and residency at Duke University, and his gastroenterology fellowship at Children’s Hospital Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
As Associate Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease program at Children’s Hospital Boston, he spends much of his time treating complex cases of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis referred from across the country. His research interests include identifying the cause of IBD by studying the intestinal microbiome, developing new therapies for IBD, and examining the immune response of IBD patients to immunizations. He has over 100 original and review publications in the medical literature.
He has served as chair of Chapter Medical Advisory Committee of the New England Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, chair of the CCFA Pediatric Affairs committee. He has also served as president of the North American Society for Pediatric GI and Nutrition (NASPGHAN), where he helped lead a campaign to promote child safety by getting high powered magnets out of the hands of toddlers.
When not busy caring for patients or doing research, he enjoys developing patient education materials for children with chronic illness. These include the medical comics: “Pete Learns All About Crohn’s and Colitis” (with the CCFA), “Amy Goes Gluten Free”, “JD Shapes Up”, and Sophie’s Science Project”. He also has co-authored the NASPGHAN book “Your Child with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Marcelo Campos, MD
Marcelo Campos, MD works as a primary care doctor at Harvard Vanguard. He is a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and clinical assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Campos completed medical school in Brazil and a family medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. His interests are immigrant health, LGBT health, opioid use disorders, and integrative and functional medicine. Functional medicine uses an innovative framework to address chronic diseases, trying to find the root cause when possible and collaborate with patients to bring much needed balance to create health, primarily with lifestyle changes.
Center on Media and Child Health
The Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) is an academic research center whose mission is to educate and empower children and those who care for them to create and consume media in ways that optimize children’s health and development.
Founded in 2003 by pediatrician, father, and former Hollywood filmmaker Michael Rich, CMCH focuses on media as a powerful environmental health influence, like the air we breathe and the water we drink. We seek to understand the positive and negative health impacts media can have and find ways of making media the most positive possible influence in children’s lives.
Joshua Gagne, PharmD, ScD
Joshua J Gagne, PharmD, ScD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan). Josh is Co-Lead of the Methods Core of the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Sentinel program, Co-Director of the Pharmacoepidemiology Program at Harvard Chan, and Co-Director of the Harvard-Brigham Drug Safety and Risk Management Research Center funded by the FDA.
His research centers on methods for generating post-approval comparative safety and effectiveness evidence for new medical products. Josh teaches courses in pharmacoepidemiology and comparative effectiveness research at Harvard Chan and directs a course through Harvard Catalyst, the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center. His research is supported by the FDA, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Reagan-Udall Foundation, and pharmaceutical companies.
Josh is a recipient of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Award for Excellence in Application of Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes Research. He serves on the editorial boards of Drug Safety and Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety and is an Associate Editor for PCORI.
Steve Calechman is a contributing editor for Men’s Health, a writer for MIT’s Industrial Liaison Program, and his work has appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine, Greentech Media, Fatherly, and BabyCenter. For over 25 years as a journalist, he’s written about everything from handling stress like an Alaska bush pilot to computational neuroscience to how to change your mind mid-sentence with your child. If you’d like to visit his website at stevecalechman.com, he won’t try and stop you.
Elena H. Chartoff, PhD
Elena H. Chartoff, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and director of the Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior Laboratory at McLean Hospital. She is interested in the neurobiological mechanisms that connect depression and anxiety with drug addiction. The work in her laboratory has broad implications for understanding basic brain mechanisms that control mood and motivated behavior. Within her wider interest, Dr. Chartoff’s laboratory focuses on sex differences in molecular and genetic contributions to addictive behaviors, the role of glutamatergic transmission in affective states and the role of kappa opioid receptors in drug withdrawal-induced depressive-like states.
Elena earned her B.S. in biology from Carnegie Mellon University in 1992 and her Ph.D. in Neurobiology & Behavior from the University of Washington in 2001.
Diane W. Shannon, MD, MPH
Diane W. Shannon, MD, MPH, is a physician-writer with expertise in performance improvement in health care. She is the co-author of the recently published book, Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine, and can be reached at www.mdwriter.com.
A. Enrique Caballero, MD
Dr. Caballero is an Endocrinologist, Clinical Investigator and Educator. He works in the Office for External Education at Harvard Medical School, directing the development of programs in the field of diabetes and related disorders that benefit health care professionals and patients around the world.
Dr. Caballero has had a strong and long commitment to help underserved populations. He founded the Latino Diabetes Initiative at the Joslin Diabetes Center and the Diabetes Program within the Spanish Clinic at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, both affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
Through multiple activities in the areas of patient care, patient education, community outreach, clinical research and professional education, his work has favorably impacted the lives of thousands of people and families with diabetes or at risk for the disease.
His research interests include type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention as well as management of diabetes in racial/ethnic minorities. He has been a co-investigator of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, the LookAhead Program and the Diabetes Education Study, all sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Caballero has written numerous publications on how diabetes affects the Latino/Hispanic community, diabetes prevention, obesity, and the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He is also a reviewer for multiple prestigious medical journals.
Dr. Caballero frequently lectures nationally and internationally in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in minorities. He has been the chair for the Latino Diabetes Education Program for the American Diabetes Association, Vice chair of the Health Care Disparities Committee of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and has worked closely with other national and international organizations. He has also been a tutor of the Culturally Competent Care Curriculum at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Caballero graduated from the National University of Mexico Medical School where he was awarded with the “Gabino Barreda” medal for being the top student and achieving the highest academic level his class. He then completed his residency in Internal medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology at the National Institute of Nutrition in Mexico, and went on to complete a master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology in Mexico. In addition, he completed a fellowship program in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Lahey Clinic/Deaconess Hospital/Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston and the Program on Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health.
He has received local, regional, national and international recognitions and awards. Dr. Caballero is the recipient of the 2009 “Alberto Houssay” award by the National Minority Quality Forum, the 2011 award by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists for his work on health care disparities and with underserved populations and the 2012 Distinguished Community Service and Leadership Award by ALPFA Health Care and a special recognition from the Latin American Diabetes Association. He has been recognized for several years as one of the 100 most influential people in the Latino community according to El Planeta newspaper. Recently, Dr. Caballero received a special recognition from the city of Boston and the government of Mexico for his continuous effort and commitment to help underserved populations.
Bill Williams is a theater teacher, director, acting coach, and writer. He leads theater and improv workshops for teens and young adults in recovery from substance use disorder. Bill also works with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Friends of Recovery- New York , and the Addiction Policy Forum. He was awarded Advocate of the Year 2017 by the Addiction Policy Forum. You can read more of Bill Williams’ writing at: http://billwilliamsblog.blogspot.com/
Scott Shainker, DO, MS
Scott Shainker, D.O, M.S., is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). He is also a member of the faculty in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School (HMS).
Dr. Shainker is the co-founder and director of the New England Center for Placental Disorders, an international referral center for women with invasive placentation and other complex placental disorders. At BIDMC, he serves as the associate medical director of Labor and Delivery.
Dr. Shainker’s research focuses on process improvement and clinical outcomes in the management of invasive placentation. His clinical interests are in abnormal placentation, complex maternal disease, critical care obstetrics and medical education.
Dr. Shainker has lectured around the world focusing his efforts on reducing maternal morbidity / mortality, as well as placental disorders. Dr. Shainker is a national expert in critical care obstetrics and serves as faculty at both national and regional meetings. In addition, he was awarded the prestigious Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Faculty Teaching Prize at HMS.
Ted A. James, MD
Dr. Ted James is the Chief of Breast Surgical Oncology and Co-Director of the Breast Care Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is an advocate of patient-centered care and believes that treatment should always incorporate the individual priorities and values of each patient. Dr. James works with national health organizations to improve outcomes and ensure that patients receive the best care possible.
Leo Beletsky, JD, MPH
Leo Beletsky is an Associate Professor of Law and Health Sciences at Northeastern University, and an Adjunct faculty member at UCSD School of Medicine. His expertise is on the interface of law and public health, with focus on the role of policy and other structural drivers of the opioid crisis.
Elisabeth J. Ryan, JD, MPH
Elisabeth Ryan, JD, MPH, is the Legal Fellow at the Northeastern University School of Law Center for Health Policy and Law. She has formerly practiced as a public defender and as deputy general counsel for the Massachusetts public safety executive office. She currently heads Public Health Law Watch and her work focuses on the intersection of criminal justice and public health.
Wendy E. Parmet, JD
Wendy E. Parmet is the Matthews Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, where she is also the faculty director of the Center for Health Policy & Law. Her research focuses on access to health care and the use of the law to protect public health.