Tag: Tufts University

Michelle A. Williams to Head Harvard’s School of Public Health, Becomes University’s 1st Black Faculty Dean

Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams (photo via Harvard Gazette)

article by Courtney Connley via blackenterprise.com

Harvard University announced Friday that Michelle A. Williams will become dean of its School of Public Health, making her the first black person to head a faculty at the university and the first female dean of the school.

Currently an epidemiologist and professor in the School of Public Health, Williams will start her new position in July, following David A. Hunter who has served as interim dean for the past six months after Julio Frenk stepped down to become president at the University of Miami.

“She is a skilled builder of bridges—between the theoretical and the practical, the domestic and the international, the different disciplines that drive the School’s academic endeavors, and the different communities that shape its identity and aspirations,” University President Drew G. Faust said in a statement. “I know she will approach her new role with the intelligence, dedication, integrity, and humane spirit that she brings to all she does.”

Williams’s appointment comes at a time when Harvard students have been more outspoken about the lack of diversity in leadership at the institution. Recently, students from the university’s medical school delivered a petition to Massachusetts Hall, calling on Faust to prioritize the school’s need for more diversity as they search for their own new dean.

“As an alumna and faculty member, I have witnessed the transformative impact that this institution can have in education, research, and discovery related to the health of communities in need,” Williams said. “We have an imperative to lead and to serve, and I am looking forward to working even more closely with the School’s faculty, students, staff, and alumni to build on the school’s achievements.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s from Tufts University, Williams attended Harvard’s School of Public Health before joining the faculty at the University of Washington. In 2011, she came back to the Harvard family as chair of the epidemiology department in the School of Public Health. That same year, she was also presented the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring by President Barack Obama.

To read more, go to: http://www.blackenterprise.com/education/michelle-williams-harvard-first-black-faculty-dean/

Sisters Create Cross-Cultural Organization Connecting U.S. and African Youth

Twin sisters and founders of Focal Point Global, Hassanatu and Hussainatu Blake (photo: black enterprise.com)

Twin sisters and founders of Focal Point Global, Hassanatu Blake and Hussainatu Blake are on a mission to provide a global experience that enlightens youths in Africa and the United States about different cultures, countries, and lifestyles. Using modern technology such as Skype and Google Hangout, Focal Point Global makes it possible for youths to connect, learn, and address social issues together, and become leaders in their communities.

As 2012 White House Champions of Change, the dynamic duo has accomplished a great deal since launching the organization in 2010. This includes creating The U.S.-Southern Africa HIV Education Initiative (2010), the US-Cameroon Child Trafficking Awareness Project (2012), the Gambia-Namibia HIV/Ebola Education Initiative (2014), preparing 150 global youth alumni, and serving as 2013 TEDxEmory Keynote Speakers.

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the Cameroonian-American sisters to delve into their background and learn more about their plans for 2016.

BlackEnterprise.com: Tell us a bit about your background.
 I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University, a Masters degree from Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and a law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. I have lived and worked in Germany, South Africa, Namibia, and The Gambia. While living in Germany, I assisted the NAACP with educating Africans about their legal rights. I also worked for the International Organization for Migration’s Counter-Trafficking Department in South Africa, aiding trafficked Africans. I have published articles about slavery in Mauritania for International Affairs Forum, a publication of the Center for International Relations in Washington, D.C.

Hassanatu: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University, a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Plymouth State University. I’ve also lived, worked, and studied in Germany, Jamaica, Namibia, Zambia, Antigua, St. Lucia, Cameroon, The Gambia, and South Africa. I have focused on improving health issues globally. Recently I worked with BroadReach Healthcare to implement a national management and leadership training program for health professionals in Zambia. I also conducted maternal/child health research with the National Institutes of Health and University of Alabama in Jamaica, worked with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Namibia to support Namibia’s national fight against HIV/AIDS, and managed technical assistance projects in Africa and Asia with USAID Global Health Technical Project in Washington, D.C. I’ve also written on a variety of health topics for the African American online health resource, BlackDoctor.org.

Tell us about the defining moment that inspired you to launch Focal Point Global.
Seven years ago, Focal Point Global started as an idea while we were sitting in our parents’ living room. We had just returned from working overseas and we read a New York Times article about the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the D.C. metro area being as high as 3%. Although 3% may not seem high for many people, based on our global public health and international development backgrounds, we knew this prevalence rate was high for an industrialized country like the U.S., and also comparable to some prevalence rates in West African cities. What makes it more alarming is that many who are impacted are youths between the ages of 15 and 25. After reading the article, we did research on how HIV was being addressed in the U.S., particularly in the youth population. We realized there was a critical gap that wasn’t being fully utilized — global peer education. Right then, we decided to create a project connecting youths in the U.S. and in Namibia (Southern Africa) so they could have a cross-cultural educational platform to discuss HIV and a space to create solutions to address this disease in their communities. Continue reading “Sisters Create Cross-Cultural Organization Connecting U.S. and African Youth”

Historian Peniel E. Joseph Honored by Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for his Biography of Stokely Carmichael

Professor Peniel E. Joseph (photo via citylights.com)

Peniel E. Joseph, professor of history at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, received the National Book Award from the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis. The award honors the author of a book that best advances “the understanding of American civil rights movement and its legacy.”

P25898101._UY200_rofessor Joseph is being honored for his book Stokely: A Life (Basic Civitas, 2014), a biography of Stokely Carmichael, later known as Kwame Toure. Carmichael was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He spent the later years of his life in Africa.

Professor Joseph has taught at Tufts University since 2009. He is a graduate of Stony Brook University of the State University of New York System, where he double majored in Africana studies and European history. He holds a Ph.D. in American history from Temple University in Philadelphia.

article via jbhe.com

Joanne Berger-Sweeney Appointed Trinity College President, 1st Female and African-American to Hold Post

New Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney
New Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney

HARTFORD — Several hundred Trinity College students, faculty and alumni greeted Joanne Berger-Sweeney, named Thursday as the college’s first African-American and first woman president, with enthusiastic whoops and applause.  “How could you have a warmer welcome for someone?” said Berger-Sweeney, a dean at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. “It’s not very often that I get to walk into a room and there’s a standing ovation.”  But then, she noted, to a roar of laughter, there were no seats in the room.

Berger-Sweeney, 55, a neuroscientist who was accompanied at Thursday’s announcement by her husband and two children, told the crowd she fell in love with Trinity the moment she first set foot on campus — shortly before New Year’s.  “We came through the arch … I looked to the left and saw the chapel, I looked to the right and saw this beautiful long walk, and I thought: I think I could be here,” Berger-Sweeney said. “… Some people may want to be on small bucolic campuses in Maine, but not me. I want to be right here.”

After that visit Berger-Sweeney decided to apply and emerged as the winner when the Trinity board of trustees Tuesday voted unanimously for her. She will be the college’s 22nd president.  Berger-Sweeney will take the helm at Trinity as it continues to grapple with financial challenges, a reputation as a party school, security concerns, campus climate and conflict with fraternities and sororities over policy changes.

“Trinity is a forward-looking institution that excels in liberal arts and sciences, and both are areas of excellence for Dr. Berger-Sweeney, who rose to the top of our highly competitive candidate pool,” said Cornelia Parsons Thornburgh, who led the search committee and will become chairwoman of Trinity’s board of trustees on July 1. “She impressed us with her strong academic credentials, curricular innovations, collaborative nature and enthusiasm for the Hartford community.

“I strongly believe that her vision of Trinity College as an elite liberal arts college with an urban pulse is one that will guide us, inspire us and lead us on a path to distinction and greatness,” Thornburgh said.  James F. Jones Jr., who has been Trinity’s president for a decade and will retire June 30, called the moment historic and said that Berger-Sweeney’s appointment brought him “an enormous sigh of relief” to know that his “successor is going to be a star.”

Berger-Sweeney, who has been dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts since 2010, brings with her experience that is relevant to Trinity, Thornburgh said. “At Tufts, she has proven herself in areas that coincide closely with, and are important to, Trinity: proximity to a city, a strong athletic tradition, budget and program coordination, an historical Greek tradition, and a deep appreciation for a liberal arts education.”

Continue reading “Joanne Berger-Sweeney Appointed Trinity College President, 1st Female and African-American to Hold Post”

DaVita Vance-Cooks Becomes 1st African American and Female to Run U.S. Government Printing Office


DaVita Vance-Cooks was just named the nation’s public printer, making her both the first female and the first African American to lead the Government Printing Office in the agency’s 152-year history. Vance-Cooks’ appointment was approved by unanimous vote in the U.S. Senate. President Barack Obama nominated her for the position earlier this year.  DaVita Vance-Cooks is a graduate from Tufts University with an MBA from Columbia University.

It has been a mission of the new GPO head to re-brand the Government Printing Office and bring them up to speed in our digital society. She led the agency’s effort to partner with Google to sell federal publications in an eBook format, launched an award-winning government book blog, modernized GPO’s customer contact center, and led the renovation of the agency’s retail bookstore in Washington, D.C.  Her work led to an appointment as Deputy Public Printer in 2011.

DaVita Vance-Cooks joined the Government Printing Office in 2004. She began as the Deputy Managing Director of Customer Services, with the responsibility of overseeing the office’s liaison with federal agencies for in-house print production and printing procurement services. Under Vance-Cooks, the GPO awarded approximately $500 million dollars annually in printing contracts to the private industry and oversaw the award of a $50 million contract for the production of 2010 census materials, which was one of the largest procurements in the government agency’s history.

For the first time since 2008, GPO completed its fiscal year 2012 with a positive net income and reduced overhead costs. Under Vance-Cooks, the GPO pioneered new mobile apps, expanded the scope of information made available through the federal digital system and opened a secure credential site.

article by Erica L. Taylor via blackamericaweb.com