MTA President's Award
Alan Geller is a senior lecturer in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He was a day care worker, unionized rubber and steelworker and a surgical oncology nurse before embarking on a public health career. His expertise is in cancer screening and cancer epidemiology as well as tobacco cessation. He has worked over the past year advising districts on safe return-to-school policies as well as assisting the MTA in similar efforts.
Carlene Pavlos is the executive director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, a statewide advocacy organization promoting policies that address the social and environmental conditions that determine health. The MPHA is committed to health and racial equity and utilizes health equity framing in identifying policy goals. Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MPHA has been convening the Task Force on Coronavirus and Equity, a coalition of more than 100 organizations focusing on the needs of those most seriously impacted. Prior to joining the MPHA in April 2018, Pavlos spent nearly 20 years at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, most recently as the director of the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention. She brings to her work a commitment to social justice, and she has extensive experience working with and learning from incarcerated women. She holds a bachelor of science degree from Lafayette College and a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School.
Jodi Sugerman-Brozan is the executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, which fights to ensure that all workers earn a fair wage and are treated with respect and dignity — and that all workers return home to their families alive and well. COVID-19 has created an occupational health and safety crisis of epic proportions. “Workplace exposure to SARS-CoV-2 has made thousands of workers in Massachusetts sick and likely resulted in hundreds of fatalities,” said Sugerman-Brozan. “The strong advocacy of the Massachusetts Teachers Association over the last year to ensure that the return to in-person learning is safe for educators and their students has no doubt saved lives. MassCOSH is proud to be a partner in this critical work. As a public school parent, I am particularly grateful for the work of the MTA and of our collaboration. I am honored to accept the 2021 MTA President’s Award on behalf of the entire staff at MassCOSH and our volunteer Health Technical Committee.”
Julia Koehler earned her M.D. degree at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She completed a residency in pediatrics and a subspecialty fellowship in pediatric infectious disease at Boston Children’s Hospital. She trained in molecular genetics of the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the human pathogen Candida albicans at the Whitehead Institute of MIT. She is a practicing pediatric infectious disease clinician and a National Institutes of Health-funded molecular genetics bench scientist. Dr. Koehler co-founded the Immigrant Health Special Interest Group of the American Academy of Pediatrics and served on its steering committee, and she is the founding chair of the Immigrant Health Committee of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is the principal investigator for an NIH grant to address Chagas disease, a deeply neglected poverty-related infection in Latin American communities. She is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
Regina LaRocque, M.D. MPH, is an infectious disease physician-scientist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She has studied enteric and travel-related infections for 20 years, and she is the author of book chapters and peer-reviewed research. She served as a board member of Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility and is an elected member of the Wellesley Town Meeting. Dr. LaRocque has shared her time and knowledge freely during the COVID-19 pandemic and has worked hard to be an ally of affected communities.