Founders

HHI was co-founded by Jennifer Leaning and Michael VanRooyen.

jennifer_leaningJennifer Leaning, MD, SMH

 
Co-founder, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Professor of the Practice of Global Health,
Harvard School of Public Health

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
 

An expert in public health and rights-based responses to humanitarian crises, Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH, is the Director of the Harvard François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, the FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at Harvard School of Public Health and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Leaning served for five years as co-director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. From 1999 to 2005, Dr. Leaning directed the Program on Humanitarian Crises and Human Rights at the FXB Center. During the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. Leaning held progressively responsible roles in medical management at Harvard Community Health Plan and worked clinically in emergency medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She has served on the boards of Physicians for Human Rights, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Oxfam America and currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States and the Massachusetts Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross. She is on the editorial boards of several journals and a member of the Board of Syndics at Harvard University Press. Her research and teaching interests are in human rights, international humanitarian law, and public health and policy response to humanitarian crises. The author of many academic articles, she has also edited two books, including Humanitarian Crises: The Medical and Public Health Response, published by Harvard University Press in 1999. She earned her B.A. magna cum laude from Radcliffe College, her masters of science from HSPH, and her M.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

michael_vanrooyenMichael VanRooyen, MD, MPH, FACEP

Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Director, Division of International Health and Humanitarian Programs, 
Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health and Population, 
Harvard School of Public Health

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. VanRooyen has worked extensively in humanitarian assistance in over thirty countries affected by war and disaster, including Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, North Korea, Darfur-Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo, both as a physician and a policy advisor with numerous relief organizations, including CARE, Save the Children, Physicians for Human Rights and Samaritans Purse International Relief. He has served as a special advisor for the World Health Organization and as a member of the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee's Health Cluster. Domestically, Dr. VanRooyen has provided relief assistance at the site of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th with the American Red Cross and also helped to coordinate the American Red Cross public health response to Hurricane Katrina, sending over twenty physicians from the Harvard system to hurricane-devastated regions.

Dr. VanRooyen teaches courses on humanitarian operations in war at the Harvard School of Public Health. His textbook,Emergency Field Medicine, is considered one of the key reference texts in this area, and he has authored over 50 publications related to international emergency medicine development and humanitarian assistance. Dr. VanRooyen has served on numerous advisory panels and boards, including International Rescue Committee, the National Academies/GAO evaluation of mortality studies in Darfur, and is chairman of the Humanitarian Action Summit. Dr. VanRooyen has also been awarded the Reader's Digest Health Heroes Award, the Raoul Wallenburg Foundation Humanitarian Award, the Hippocrates Society Humanitarian Award and the AMA Pride in the Profession Award. He was given the University of Illinois Alumni Humanitarian Award and was featured as one of two US physicians in the American Medical Association's publication entitled Caring Physicians of the World.