Current Newsletter Autumn 2020.

“Good Evening, Good Afternoon and Good Morning”, concluded Maddy Phipps-Taylor as she closed the first on-line talk for fellows, given by Derek Feeley who recently stepped down as President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).  Fellows joined us from around the world to learn about IHI’s work on improving equity in health care. Read more.  

As we learn to live with the pandemic, the Harkness Fellows Association (HFA) has moved on-line, with access to our talks available to all from the comfort of their home or office wherever they live.  In addition to the forthcoming Returners Event on November 16, Dame Frances Cairncross will be giving her deferred talk on November 26. Book here.

We are looking for more alumni to join as members to support the association and for a couple of members to join the committee and become Trustees. It is not onerous. We meet four times a year, for the time being virtually, to plan the talks and address business matters. If you have ideas for how to improve the Association in the future,  joining as a member or volunteering to be on the committee are great ways to engage.  Current committee members want the committee’s composition to reflect the diversity of the alumni and want to continue to bring thought-provoking events to as many Fellows and their guests as possible. Please email indicating your interest and giving your contact details. These will be passed to the Committee to pursue.

Harkness Fellows Association

Environmentalism in a time of Covid 
Not a year goes by without news of some environmental disaster happening somewhere or another around the globe. 2020 is no exception.  Then along comes the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Anthony Long, (HF 77-79), who founded the European Policy Office for WWF, highlights how environmentalism has morphed into a first order public health concern and gained a place in mainstream politics, a far cry from its previous frequent put down as a niche concern of tree huggers.

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A Focus on the USA

The last two HFA events and the next one have a focus on the United States of America.  
In July we heard about Equity in US Healthcare from Derek Feeley (HF 05-6). In October, Sir David Manning, UK ambassador to the US from 2003 to 2007, gave us his insights into what is at stake for international relations in the US Presidential election. On November 16 we will meet the three 2019/20 UK Harkness fellows and learn about their studies in the US.   

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Harkness and Irvine 

Harkness Fellows owe much to Edward Harkness for founding the scholarships, but also to those who helped him make them a success. One such was Sir James Colquhoun Irvine. A centenary after he became the youngest Principal and Vice Chancellor of St Andrew’s University, his granddaughter, who has published a book about him, writes about his role in our fellowships and the new Irvine Fund for a Scholarship in Chemistry at the University of St Andrews. 

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The Gift that Keeps on Giving. 
Harkness Fellows often talk about their time living and studying in the USA as a gift, a life changing gift that enhances their career and their impact on the world we live in.   

For some, an award set up in their name can lead to benefits for science, medicine or public policy, well beyond their lifetime. It can encourage and support scholars of the future.  Some of these are highlighted here; let us know of more.

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Harkness Fellows Updates

Please send us updates about yourself.  We know that Harkness Fellows like to hear about fellow alumni but we can only share what we are told.  These should be sent to
We welcome to the HFA the three UK fellows who are at the end of  their fellowships;  John Withington is back in the UK, and Holly Kreele and Nason Maani are spending more time on completing their work in the USA, given how disruptive the pandemic has been.  
Please note that the AGM for members of the Harkness Fellows Association will be held on November 30th.  Members will receive papers and an invitation to the on-line meeting by email.
The Commonwealth Fund have told us that in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they have made the difficult decision not to put out a standard call for applications for the 2021-22 Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice. Individuals who were selected for a 2020-21 Harkness Fellowship have been given the option to defer their start date until August/September 2021.  As a result, the Fund will not be accepting applications from across the eight participating countries. Should this change, any new information will be shared on their website as soon as these decisions are finalized.
The next standard call for applications, for the 2022-23 Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice, will be announced in spring 2021.  Contact: Reginald Williams, Vice President, International Program in Health Policy and Practice Innovations: 
In our last newsletter we noted the retirement of Robin Osborn from her leadership role for the Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice. Her role has been taken on by Reggie Williams.  Reginald D. Williams II joined the Commonwealth Fund in 2020 as the Vice President of the International Health Policy and Practice Innovations program. He is responsible for fostering international dialogue, exchange, and education that enables U.S. policy makers and healthcare leaders to learn from cross-national experiences, for the organization’s international benchmarking activities, its international research and policy analysis, and the educational exchanges it conducts with key international partners. Critical to all activities is the cultivation of a robust international network of senior policy makers and healthcare leaders, including The Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice. Prior to joining the Fund, Mr. Williams was at Avalere Health, an international consulting firm dedicated to improving healthcare, where he served as Managing Director focusing on health care delivery innovation and digital health, and leading the firm’s Evidence-Based Medicine Policy practice. Prior to joining Avalere, Reggie was a member of the health policy team at the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). He serves on the board of directors of Mental Health America, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people live mentally healthier lives. Reggie earned an AB in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University.