Emily Harrison

Lecturer in Women's & Gender Studies

Global Health and Community Medicine, Development, Evidence and Ethics

I am a Lecturer in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Epidemiology and the History of Science at Harvard University. My background is in global health and development, which I pursued first as a science journalist and later as a consultant to national, bilateral, and international organizations with local projects in Chile, Rwanda, and Uganda. I hold a PhD in the History of Science, an SM in Global Health and Population with a certificate in Maternal and Child Health, and a BA in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, all from Harvard University.

My research focuses on global health and community medicine. In particular, I am interested in the role of evidence and ethics and the ways in which participants in health projects approach the ideals of equality and progress. I make use of historical and ethnographic resources. My current research project is a history of global health metrics, tracing the rise and fall of the infant mortality rate among health experts working in Ecuador, India, and the United States. Other research interests include the notion of clinical epidemiology, ecology, and traumatic brain injury. In addition to my research and writing I have invested in mentoring and advising of undergraduate students as a resident adviser, a global health teaching consultant, and a staff adviser to activist health organizations on campus. At Wellesley College I will be teaching a fall course on U.S. Public Health and a spring course on Global Health and the Environmental Crisis.

My academic interests were motivated by a family history of immigration, resident participation in neighborhood health and development in New York City, and work as a science journalist at Scientific American, where I developed an interest in representations of health ranging from statistics to photography. It was as a writer, photography editor, and relief volunteer observing the sequellae of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraqi Refugee Crisis that I decided to pursue graduate work at the Harvard School of Public Health, and as a practitioner in the complex process of measuring community development that I chose subsequent doctoral research in the History of Science.


  • B.A., Harvard College
  • M.S., Harvard School of Public Health
  • Ph.D., Harvard University