Recent Blog Articles
Children not yet vaccinated against COVID-19? What to do
HIV rates rising: Could new forms of PrEP help?
Careful! Scary health news can be harmful to your health
Post-pandemic weight loss: There’s an app for that
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia by telemedicine: Is it as good as in-person treatment?
Prediabetes diagnosis as an older adult: What does it really mean?
Is blood sugar monitoring without diabetes worthwhile?
Large review study finds low risk of erectile dysfunction after prostate biopsy
Does exercise help protect against severe COVID-19?
A new Alzheimer’s drug has been approved. But should you take it?
Harvard Health Blog Experts
List of Experts
Helene Langevin, MD
Dr. Langevin received an MD degree from McGill University, completed a post doctoral research fellowship in Neurochemistry at the MRC Neurochemical Pharmacology Unit in Cambridge, England, residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is a Professor in Residence of Medicine and Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also a Visiting Professor of Neurological Sciences at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Dr. Langevin has been the Principal Investigator of several NIH-funded studies investigating the role of connective tissue in low back pain and the mechanisms of acupuncture, manual and movement-based therapies. Her previous studies in humans and animal models have shown that mechanical tissue stimulation during both tissue stretch and acupuncture causes dynamic cellular responses in connective tissue. Her current work focuses on the effects of stretching on inflammation resolution mechanisms within connective tissue, and their relevance to chronic musculoskeletal pain and cancer.
Carolyn A. Bernstein, MD, FAHS
Carolyn Bernstein, MD, FAHS, is a neurologist specializing in headache medicine. A graduate of Boston University School of Medicine, she interned at Boston City Hospital. She did her postgraduate training at Boston City Hospital and New England Medical Center, and is board certified in neurology and headache medicine.
Dr. Bernstein has won Harvard Medical School awards for teaching and for humanism in medicine. She was also awarded the National Headache Foundation’s Healthcare Provider of the Year award in 2008. Her interests include migraine, hormonal headache, women’s issues in neurology, and the use of integrative therapies in the treatment of headache and pain. She is the author of The Migraine Brain: Your Breakthrough Guide to Fewer Headaches, Better Health (Free Press 2008). She has edited and co-written two textbooks: Pain in Women (Springer, 2012) and Medical Problems During Pregnancy (Springer, 2017). Dr. Bernstein is an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.
Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
Kelly Bilodeau is executive editor of Harvard Women’s Health Watch. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later went on to become a managing editor at HCPro, a Boston-area healthcare publishing company, where she covered healthcare industry trends and topics such as patient safety, medical billing, radiology and breast imaging. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Magazine, as well as numerous healthcare trade publications.
Ami Bhatt, MD, FACC
Ami B. Bhatt, MD, FACC is the Director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital and an active clinical cardiologist, investigator, and educator. She graduated from Harvard College, obtained her doctoral degree from Yale School of Medicine, and trained at Massachusetts General Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Boston, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in internal medicine, pediatrics, adult cardiology, and adult congenital heart disease (ACHD).
Dr. Bhatt’s team has transformed adult congenital heart disease care at the MGH into an internationally renowned program. At the MGH Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, the program has established a multidisciplinary infrastructure with heart failure, cardiac transplantation, electrophysiology, structural heart & valve specialists, as well as obstetrics, maternal fetal medicine, genetics, and pediatrics. Importantly, the program’s multidisciplinary approach extends to social work, financial counselors, network development, and international patient care teams. The infrastructure and support provided by the MGH Corrigan Minehan Heart Center have been essential to promoting the program’s growth. The MGH Adult Congenital Heart Disease Health & Wellness program underscores that one individual with heart diseae in a family can promote healthy behaviors in all. Through the MGH ACHD Health & Wellness program at Mass General Waltham, patients receive education about congenital heart disease, exercise assessment and prescription, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease primary prevention education.
Dr. Bhatt was nationally recognized as an educator by the American College of Cardiology in 2015 and by the American Heart Association in 2016 for ACHD program building and design efforts. She is internationally recognized for authoring statements and training guidelines, and for her research and care redesign efforts to better target resource utilization in complex tertiary ACHD care. She has developed a robust multidisciplinary curriculum at Mass General to provide formal congenital heart disease education to cardiovascular fellows from programs without an established CHD program. She has individually mentored hundreds of trainees and actively advocates to establish congenital heart centers nationally and internationally, all with a goal of empowering individuals with CHD to lead full and productive lives.
Dr. Bhatt’s educational and outreach activities are fueled by her belief that individuals with complex disease deserve collaborative care between tertiary centers and community caregivers. She innovates at the MGH Corrigan Minehan Heart Center in the domains of telemedicine for ACHD patient visits, provider consultation, multimodality teleconferences, and adoption of mobile health technologies for caregivers and patients. Her interest in digital health strategy stems from her beliefs that state of the art, high quality, personalized care can be delivered to individuals in the community and that concierge medicine is possible for everyone.
As Director of Outpatient Services for the MGH Cardiology Division, Dr. Bhatt is working with patient & family advocates, administration, and process improvement & workflow design teams on enhancing the outpatient care delivery model. Her work centers on applying process improvement and systems design thinking to enhance multidisciplinary care and create transparent systems for coordinating and achieving patient centered outcomes, alleviating physician burn-out, and emphasizing that the two are not mutually exclusive. The MGH Healthcare Transformation Lab is home to her creative side, and allows her the space to innovate with partners from different professional disciplines. When she’s not busy innovating, Dr. Bhatt spends time with her husband and two daughters, having dance parties and traveling.
Adam P. Stern, MD
Adam P. Stern, MD, is the director of psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has published in journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, The American Journal of Psychiatry, as well as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and STAT News. He is also the author of Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training, an upcoming memoir.
Christopher Bullock, MD
Christopher Bullock, MD, is an Assistant Clinical Professor (part-time) of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a psychoanalyst affiliated with the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and a Teaching Associate at the Cambridge Health Alliance, where for 20 years he was the senior attending physician on an outpatient team working intensively with the chronically mentally ill. He maintains a private practice in Newton, Massachusetts.
He has won multiple teaching awards, was a founding faculty member in the team that developed the innovative Cambridge-Harvard Medical School Longitudinal Third Year Clerkship, has worked in pioneering projects integrating behavioral health care into primary care medicine, taught for many years in the HMS Healer’s Art seminars, and has lectured nationally on psychiatric education. This fall he will join the Emerson College faculty to teach “Aragorn on the Couch: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the Lord of the Rings and the Writing of J. R .R. Tolkein.”
Toni Golen, MD
Dr. Toni Golen is a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology who practices in Boston. She completed her residency training at George Washington University Medical Center in 1995 and is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Golen has a special interest in health care quality and patient safety. At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), she is director of labor and delivery and vice chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department. In these roles, she is responsible for developing and implementing quality improvement projects to advance the safety, accessibility, and patient-centered focus of care provided to women and their families at BIDMC. In 2017, Dr. Golen was senior author of a study published in The Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Safety that showed a significant reduction in cesarean delivery rate after a series of quality improvement initiatives.
Dr. Golen is a member of the board of directors of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She lives in Wellesley with her husband and children.
Alexandra Plante, MA
Joyce Gomes-Osman, PhD, PT
Dr. Joyce Gomes-Osman is a physical therapist and a neuroscientist. After completing her physical therapy degree in her native country of Brazil, she obtained her PhD at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Gomes-Osman is an Assistant Professor at the Departments of Physical Therapy and Neurology at University of Miami and maintains her affiliation with the Berenson-Allen Center for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. She divides her time between working in the Laboratory, and teaching neurophysiology and non-invasive brain stimulation.
As a rehabilitation neuroscientist, Dr. Gomes-Osman is driven to answer questions that can impact people’s ability to live more functional and independent lives. She has published many research studies focused on figuring out ways to make rehabilitation therapies more effective for instance, by combining it with nerve stimulation and non-invasive brain stimulation. In addition to her interest in physical health, her work in recent years has focused on better understanding how we can promote brain health for individuals who are aging. This interest in brain health has stemmed both from scientific curiosity, and from experiencing the reality behind the statistics, witnessing memory deficits as a family member.
She finds great joy in mentoring the next generation of physical therapy clinicians and clinician-scientists, whether it be in the classroom, or carrying out studies to disentangle the complex relationships between physical exercise, brain health and postural control in older adults and individuals with various neurological conditions. On her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and is passionate about cooking and growing tropical plants, including exotic orchids.
Margaret O'Connor, PhD, ABPP
Dr. Margaret O’Connor has been Director of Neuropsychology in the Cognitive Neurology Unit since 1994. She received her undergraduate degree from Duke University, her doctorate in clinical psychology from Boston University, and her clinical internship training at Brown University Medical School.
Dr. O’Connor has been board certified in the field of clinical neuropsychology since 1999, and she is a board examiner for the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, in which capacity she evaluates the clinical skills of psychologists from across the country. She is on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts and New Hampshire and she is Chair of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.
Dr. O’Connor is a member of the Clinical Advisory Group of Autism Asperger Network. She is President Elect of the International Neuropsychological Society, an organization forcused on brain health and neuroscience. She is an Associate Professor of Neurology (Neuropsychology) at Harvard Medical School. Her research expertise is in the field of memory disorders and dementia. She has published over 65 scientific articles on these subjects and she has been the principal investigator on several grants, including several NARSAD awards and a grant from the National Parkinson’s Foundation to develop an Internet based video on driving safety. Dr. O’Connor’s teaching activities include a weekly neuropsychology seminar for graduate and post-doctoral students and participation in hospital based and medical school courses. Over the past 25 years Dr. O’Connor has mentored over 70 pre- and post-doctoral neuropsychology trainees. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, reading, traveling and cooking.
Daniela J. Lamas, MD
Daniela Lamas is a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and faculty at Harvard Medical School. Following graduation from Harvard College, she went on to earn her MD at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, where she also completed internship and residency. She then returned to Boston for her subspecialty fellowship. She has worked as a medical reporter at the Miami Herald and is frequently published in the New York Times. This is her first book.
Hilary Connery, MD, PhD
Alison Shmerling, MD, MPH
Alison Shmerling, MD, MPH is a Family Physician practicing full scope family medicine, including low-risk obstetrics. She completed her medical degree and MPH at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is now affiliated with the University of Colorado Hospital where she sees patients and teaches in the Family Medicine residency.
Editor, Harvard Health Blog
Francesca Coltrera is editor of the Harvard Health Blog and a senior content writer and editor for Harvard Health Publishing. She is an award-winning medical writer and co-author of Living Through Breast Cancer and The Breast Cancer Survivor’s Fitness Plan. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, O Magazine, Good Housekeeping, SELF, and the Boston Herald, among other venues. She is interested in many health topics, including coronavirus and COVID-19, emotional and physical wellness, parenting and children’s health, women’s health, exercise, longevity, cancer, caregiving, and end-of-life issues.
Stephen P. Wood, MS, ACNP-BC
Stephen P. Wood is a nurse practitioner for Lahey Health and works in the emergency department at Winchester Hospital and Lahey Medical Center. He is a fellow at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics and a contributor for the Petrie-Flom Center blog Bill of Health. He is the chair of the Winchester Hospital Substance Use Task Force and a member of the ED Mental Health Working Group. He is co-chair of the Southern Middlesex County Mental Health Working Group. His focus is on harm reduction and access to care in the setting of substance use disorder and human trafficking. In his spare time, he is an amateur lobsterman.
Jeremy Samuel Faust, MD, MS
Jeremy Samuel Faust, MD MS MA, is an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency training at Mount Sinai Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York, after graduating from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MD, MS in Biomedical Sciences).
He is the cohost of FOAMcast, an award-winning free medical education podcast bridging core emergency medicine content with cutting-edge topics, which has been downloaded nearly 2 million times. He is a frequent contributor to Slate, has published essays in the New York Times, The New York Daily News, and Mother Jones and has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) and The Takeaway (Public Radio International/WNYC/WGBH). He serves on the editorial board of the Annals of Emergency Medicine and ACEP Now, and has served as a content editor for the New England Journal of Medicine Resident 360 Series.
Peer review publications include the Annals of Emergency Medicine, EM Clinics of North America, Emergency Medicine Practice, Emergency Medicine Australasia, and Critical Ultrasound Journal. He has presented internationally at the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Social Media and Critical Care (SMACC), and for the United Nations Medical Services Division, and domestically for the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine, The Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors, Resuscitation, and Controversies and Consensus in Emergency Medicine.
He graduated from Williams College with Honors in Music and holds a Masters Degree in Music Composition and Theory from UC Davis. He is the associate conductor of the Longwood Chorus (an ensemble of medical professionals and students) and serves as board president of the Grammy-award winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth. His wife Kate Taylor is a Metro reporter for the New York Times. Their baby daughter Maya is awesome. Follow him on Twitter @JeremyFaust.
Luana Marques, PhD
Dr. Luana Marques is the director and founder of Community Psychiatry PRIDE at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Associate Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. She completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at The State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo, and her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship in the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) track at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in 2007.
Dr. Marques’ major clinical and research interests include the implementation of evidence-based practices for individuals suffering from a variety of behavioral health disorders in diverse communities. Her goal is to decrease disparities in care for individuals experiencing behavioral health difficulties, especially among low-income and ethnic minorities. Upon beginning her work in community mental health clinics, Dr. Marques became increasingly aware of the substantial implementation gap in evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatments for anxiety and trauma-related disorders. Her research now centers primarily on reducing the disproportionate mental health burden among underserved populations in resource-restricted communities.
David Mischoulon, MD, PhD
Dr. Mischoulon is the Joyce R. Tedlow Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP) of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He is a board-certified psychiatrist and an accredited medical acupuncturist.
His research and clinical work have focused on various areas of depression, including complementary and alternative medicine. He has carried out research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Dr. Mischoulon has mentored research fellows and junior faculty from all over the world, including Europe, Asia, and Australia.
He has published more than 250 original research articles, review articles, and book chapters. He has co-edited a textbook on natural medications for psychiatric disorders, and is currently co-editing a guide to treatments of depression. Dr. Mischoulon teaches in the MGH Department of Psychiatry’s residency program and in various continuing medical education programs nationwide. He also cares for patients through the DCRP’s clinical practice, and is regularly sought out for consultation regarding management of treatment-resistant depression and use of complementary therapies for psychiatric disorders.
Sharon Levy, MD, MPH
Sharon Levy, MD, MPH is a board certified Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is the Director of the Adolescent Substance use and Addiction Program (ASAP) in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, which is comprised of clinical, research, training and policy arms.
Dr. Levy has evaluated and treated thousands of adolescents with substance use disorders, and has taught national curricula and published extensively on the outpatient management of substance use disorders in adolescents, including screening and brief advice in primary care, the use of drug testing and the outpatient management of opioid dependent adolescents.
She is the past chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Use and Prevention, the President of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) and serves on the board of directors of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship Director’s Association.
Siva Sundaram, BA
Siva Sundaram is a fourth-year MD student at Harvard Medical School with interests in addiction medicine, child and adolescent psychiatry, and public health policy. Before medical school, he worked as a field guide at a wilderness therapy program in Utah for teenagers struggling with problematic substance use. As a medical student, he has spent his extracurricular time advocating for more comprehensive training in addiction medicine in medical schools and for expanded access to evidence-based addiction treatment.
Rani Polak, MD, Chef, MBA
Dr. Rani Polak is the founding director of both the Culinary Healthcare Education Fundamentals (CHEF) Coaching program at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and the Center of Lifestyle Medicine at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel; as well as a Research Associate at the Department of PM & R, Harvard Medical School. Prior to this position he completed a Research Fellowship in Lifestyle Medicine at Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, and a residency in Family Medicine at the Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel. Rani had the good fortune to be the founder of the Hadassah Healthy Cooking and Lifestyle Center and the Israeli Society of Lifestyle Medicine. His first lifestyle intervention won the Hebrew University’s Kaye Award Prize for innovation and his book, Delicious Diabetic Recipes, is a gold best seller.
Dr. Polak’s focus, along with clinical care, is on nutrition education, and on clinical and translational research relating to culinary medicine and medical education. His current work is concentrated on the Culinary Coaching approach, which aims to improve nutrition through culinary training combined with health coaching principles. This approach was used through: 1) Patients CHEF Coaching telemedicine program, aimed at improving eating behavior of patients with cardio-metabolic risk factors. This was implemented at HomeBase, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and at dozens of practices nationwide, and 2) Clinician CHEF Coaching tele-training program, aimed at training clinicians in how to provide effective Culinary Healthcare Education. This was implemented in the Yale Preventive Medicine/Internal Medicine residency program, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and was recently approved by Harvard Medical School for Continuing Medical Education credits. Dr. Polak’s work has been featured in many media outlets including Scientific American, Herald Tribute, Jerusalem Post, and USA Today.
Julia Martin Burch, PhD
Julia Martin Burch, PhD, is a staff psychologist in the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program at McLean Hospital. Dr. Martin Burch works with children, teens, and parents, and specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and related disorders. She also provides training for clinicians, parent groups, and schools on working with anxious youth as part of the McLean School Consult Service. Dr. Martin Burch completed her training at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.
Lauren Elson, MD
Lauren Elson, MD is board certified in sports medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation. She attended Tufts University School of Medicine and did her residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia/Cornell. She then completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine at Stanford University.
Besides her experience with Division I athletes, she has covered multiple endurance races and marathons, including the Racing the Planet series in Chile and Egypt, the World’s Strongest Man Competition, and United Football League Games. She is currently the team physician for Lasell College.
As a former professional dancer, she has a passion for taking care of dancers and performing artists. She is the chair of the Freelance Dancer Committee on the Dance USA Taskforce on Dance Health and is a member of Performing Arts Medical Association. She has spoken at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science meetings and gives lectures on dance health and injury prevention to dancers and professional organizations. She has served as a volunteer physician at dance medicine clinics and organizes injury prevention screening exams.
With more than 35 years of experience as a dancer including training in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, African dance, modern, salsa, lindy hop, pilates and yoga, Dr. Elson understands the goals and challenges of the physically active population.
Dr. Elson is interested in developing dance health and education programs in the Boston area as well uniting the dance medicine community to provide dancers better access to specialized care.