Deliberate violence against humanitarian practitioners and operations poses an increasingly critical challenge to the humanitarian sector as...
Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Chairman of Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine
Professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH is the Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) at Harvard University. He is also the Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. VanRooyen has worked as an emergency physician with numerous relief organizations in over thirty countries affected by war and disaster, including Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, North Korea, Darfur-Sudan, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has worked in the field as a relief expert with several non-governmental organizations, including CARE, Save the Children, Oxfam, Physicians for Human Rights and Samaritans Purse International Relief. He has been a policy advisor to several organizations, including the World Health Organization and UN OCHA. He is a member of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Health Cluster. He serves on the Board of Directors for the International Rescue Committee. He has testified before Congress and at numerous UN briefings on policy issues related to Iraq, Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and served on a National Academies/GAO review of mortality in Darfur.
Domestically, Dr. VanRooyen worked with the American Red Cross to provide relief assistance at the site of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th, 2001. He also helped to coordinate the American Red Cross public health response to Hurricane Katrina, and oversaw the development of a 400 bed surgical field hospital in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. He worked as a physician with the US Secret Service, NASA and with the US Public Health Service with the Navajo and Apache tribes in Arizona and New Mexico, respectively.
Dr. VanRooyen is a Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, where he teaches courses on humanitarian operations in war and disaster. In 2012, he founded the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard, an educational program to advance humanitarian professionalism. He has authored the textbook “Emergent Field Medicine” and written over 70 publications related to international emergency medicine development and humanitarian assistance. He has served on numerous academic advisory panels and boards and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the New England Journal of Medicine.
He lives in Wayland, Massachusetts with his wife, Julia VanRooyen, MD, and three children.