Inaugural Symposium: The Power of the Liberal Arts — Shelley Hearne ’83 on the Intersection of Public Health Advocacy and the Liberal Arts

Shelley Hearne128

Shelley Hearne ’83

The Power of the Liberal Arts,” the symposium that is prelude to the inauguration of Clayton S. Rose as Bowdoin’s 15th president, comprises leaders from the worlds of business, design, government, higher education and public health. The symposium will be held in Pickard Theater, Memorial Hall, 2 p.m.­–5 p.m., Friday, October 16, 2015. In advance of the discussion, we continue a series of participant profiles.

Shelley Hearne ’83, a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a public servant dedicated to the critical junctures where science and public policy intersect.

Hearne serves as the director of the Big Cities Health Coalition, a forum for the leaders of the nation’s largest metropolitan health departments. She is also the executive director of the Forsythia Foundation.

Hearne was previously managing director of the Pew Health Group at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Before that, she founded and oversaw Trust for America’s Health, a national organization dedicated to the prevention of epidemics, and was executive director of the Pew Environmental Health Commission.

Hearne was also acting director of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Office of Pollution Prevention and a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She has served as the chair of the American Public Health Association’s Executive Board and Vice President of the Council on Education for Public Health, the accreditation body for public health schools.

“A lifetime in public health, with vexing problems ranging from bioterrorism to damaging credit card practices, has taught me to expect the unexpected,” Hearne said.

“What was the best preparation? My liberal arts education. It’s not just that I was broadly educated — it was the way it taught me to push to innovate, to reason beyond the obvious facts, to be creative in my problem solving. That kind of education, the kind I received at Bowdoin, builds a wealth of leaders. Our world needs them all.”


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