Expertise and experience:
1. Advising and mentoring Amherst College students and young alumni who seek to explore and pursue careers in health.
2. Teaching (until December 2010 at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and as adjunct lecturer at UMassAmherst School of Public Health), mentoring, advising, dialogue, organizing, advocating, and experience to learn, practice, and pursue health in all its dimesnions. Has included courses on health disparities, and cultural and linguistic competence,
internships, independent study, research, seminars to build leadership capacity of young people and future public health work force.
Synthesizing research on social determinants of health, resilience, traumatic childhood experiences, racism, chronic stress, and conditions for productive dialogue that will have a significant impact on future public health practice.
3. Translating this research into humane MCH and public health practice to improve the health of women and children, with systems that honor families, communities, and cultures.
4. Integrating cultural understanding and respect as a key strategy to end health disparities.
5. Changing the language of public health and medicine to better reflect our ideals and purpose.
6. Bringing multiple stakeholders together to untangle complex public health challenges and take collaborative action to solve them.

1. Inspiring a new generation of leaders in public health and service through a wide range of local, national, and global opportunities.
Until January 2011, consultation to individuals, communities, organizations to build capacity in the above, by
a) Inspiring keynotes, presentations, workshops.
b) Organizing forums to build essential but previously unlikely partnerships.
c) Serving as catalyst for intergenerational and cross-cultural dialogue.
c) Writing papers and grants.
3. Organization and facilitation of interactive meetings with broad stakeholder participation to unite diverse parties and spark action to create public health equity.

For more information, contact:

"A smile is the light in the window of your face, which tells people that your heart is at home."
- Kolawole Bankole, M.D, M.S

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Public Health Dialogue Mentoring December 5 2008 Amherst College

By Richard A. Aronson, MD, MPH, Jodie Simms, Annah Kuriakose

On Friday, December 5, 2008, at 2 pm, at the Career Center at College Hall, Amherst College, there will be an exciting innovative opportunity for Amherst students interested in public health to get concrete tips, contacts, and advice for applying their idealism to action.

A Public Health Dialogue: Multiple Paths to Work for Social Justice
and Healing
Friday, December 5th, 2008, Group Dialogue and Panel 2-3 PM, Individual Mentoring Sessions 3 – 5:30 pm Amherst College Career Center, College Hall

Description: Join us for a dialogue with alumni and faculty (Prof. Christopher Dole) who will speak about their experience in the public health field. Students are encouraged to bring questions and thoughts about opportunities in public health.

After the panel, from 3 - 5:30 PM, alumni panelists will be available for
individual advising/mentoring conversations with interested students. Sign
up in the Experience section of the Career Center Website:

To sign up you will need to upload a resume (a draft version is fine). If you need
assistance, please see a Peer Career Advisor, or contact the Amherst Career Center.

Individual sessions: Richard Aronson '69, Gary Forester '69, Alan Blum'69, Anya Guyer '99, Molly Greene '01

Public Health Leadership Workshop

By Richard A. Aronson, MD, MPH

During the past year, Humane Worlds Center has developed and refined a leadership workshop that draws on my 32 years of pediatric, public health, and public service experience. Also, it synthesizes several important bodies of research in a way that practitioners, families, communities, and future public health leaders can apply to their worlds. This workshop, which I presented at the University of Illinois School of Public Health MCH Leadership Retreat in July 2008 and at the American Public Health Association MCH Community Leadership Institute in October 2008, serves as a powerful catalyst for honest inter-generational dialogue about the future of public health. If you're interested, please contact me at

Leadership, Legacy, and Community: Practical Tools to Transform Research into Public Health Practice

Creating equity and bringing an end to health disparities in Maternal and Child Health will require a radical strengthening of our capacity for interactive, visionary, and participatory leadership. Such leadership is needed to fuel, inform, and inspire sustainable and systemic change in order to reverse longstanding inter generational injustice. Such an effort is neither easy nor comfortable. It is a long-term process that challenges individual and organizational biases, promotes opportunities for shared learning, and respects and strengthens the voices of all, especially those of the children, families, and communities directly affected.

This workshop will:
1. Briefly highlight areas of research that are starting to form the foundation for an evidence-based practice for transformative leadership strategies needed to create equity and justice in MCH: A) The life cycle perspective to MCH. B) Biological effects of chronic stress. C) The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study. D) Resiliency at multiple levels. E) Social capital; and F) Conditions for productive dialogue and action.
2. Propose for consideration a set of assumptions that characterize leadership practices that show promise of success in reducing disparities, whether related to services, research, and/or teaching:
 a. Honor and respect the dignity of all people involved, and of their cultures.
 b. Consider that everyone is an "expert" and honor all voices, especially those who have historically not been included in the design of the policies that affect them.
 c. Include families and communities as equal partners from start to finish.
 d. Use simple and clear, non-jargon, and non-bureaucratic language and other communication.
 e. Draw on the strengths, resiliency, and resources of all people involved.
 f. Collect, follow, analyze, and use data in an honest, clear, and accurate way that is faithful to the core functions of public health.
 g. Build and sustain public and political will for action.
 h. Move from a paradigm of “eliminating” disparities to one of “creating” equity for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, gender, religion, and nationality.
 i. Act with the knowledge that behind every statistic, every risk factor, and every preventable death is a real human being, with all the complexity, vulnerability, magnificence, and potential for good that is in each of us.
 j. Stay relationship-centered, that is, carry out the work within a context that appreciates the vital role of loving and thoughtful human relationships in promoting health, safety, and justice.
3. Give specific examples of leadership development that strive to integrate the research and the assumptions into practice.

The transformative leadership model of the kind presented at this session represents a process where we bring key stakeholders together and get the whole system in the room, thus forming new partnerships and coalitions needed to make an impact on MCH disparities and inequities. This process fosters the conditions for discovering common ground while at the same time celebrating and tapping into the richness of our diversity. It makes it possible for all of us to confront our fears, biases, and denial and move to help each other reach a deeper understanding of the underlying root systemic factors that underlie the major MCH challenges of our time. It has the potential to unite us by discovering that we have much more in common than we previously believed. The challenge is to put into practice a style of leadership that includes but goes beyond traditional historical models of public health. It seeks to foster environments in which children and families not only survive but also have the opportunity to grow and thrive and live compassionate, productive, and dignified lives.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Amherst College Public Health Event January 24 2009

By Richard A. Aronson, MD, MPH

As a pediatrician specializing in maternal and child health, my work has focused on honoring and respecting cultures, communities, and families in promoting the health and well being of children and youth; and in promoting strong partnerships and collaboration among multiple stakeholders to address public health issues, challenges, and disparities. In recent years, with the Humane Worlds Center I have turned my focus to teaching and mentoring, with a special focus on inspiring a new generation of public health leaders to carry out their work with skills rooted in collaboration, cultural respect, community empowerment, and taking action with a context of shared vision and common ground. This teaching and mentoring has been incredibly exciting, given the surge in interest in public health on college campuses such as Amherst, and the underlying passion to work to promote social justice in the world. I have been working on a unique project with two seniors at Amherst College, Jodie Simms and Annah Kuriakose, who are helping me start the Humane Worlds Center, a new organization whose purpose is to inspire and inform a new generation of leaders in public health to create the conditions for people to have full and equal health in mind, body, and spirit. To that end, with the Amherst College Career Center (Carolyn Bessett) and Center for Community Engagement (Molly Mead), we had a public health career panel and one-on-one mentoring on campus on March 28 and 29, 2008. Over the summer, I had two Center for Community Engagement interns, Jodie and Chenlan Bao '11, at the Humane Worlds Center. This fall of 2008, working with Jodie and Annah, we have organized a second public health conversation and mentoring session that will take place on Friday, December 5, 2008, at 2 pm at the Career Center. Our next big project is an exciting interterm event at Amherst that we are going to have at the Keefe Campus Center at Amherst College on January 24, 2009. It's a full one-day conference on public health and Amherst: Public Health and Amherst College:Mobilizing the Power of Communities to Improve a Society's Health
The goal is to start to establish an ongoing student-led public health presence on campus. To that end, we want to devote January 24 to an exploration of: What is public health? What are the key public health issues at Amherst College? How can Amherst students strengthen their capacity to work in true partnership with communities? What does it mean to work in a spirit of collaboration with families and communities? The January 24, 2009, meeting will focus on strategies, both at Amherst and beyond, needed to equip students with the capacity to:

1) Change how we think about public health to embrace every facet of our lives;
2) Create forums for dialogue that lead to effective action on local and global health inequities; and
3) Humanize and dignify the services and policies that relate to public health.

The sponsors are the Dean of the Faculty, Career Center, Center for Community Engagement, Class of 1969 Project, and Humane Worlds Center. See the description below, which I have also attached. The web link on the Amherst web site is:

We really want the January 24 event to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders from Amherst, surrounding communities, and public health in a spirit of collaboration and respect for each other's voice and unique contribution. Future Search ( is a unique planning method, which has been used with notable success in many of the world's cultures, and which I have had the privilege and opportunity to practice for the past 15 years in the world of public health. This approach unites people from diverse walks of life, gives them a voice in shaping humane systems, and lays the foundation for action to create healthy communities. What differentiates Future Search from most strategic planning methods are its four principles, synthesized by Weisbord and Janoff from 75 years of social science research:

* Get the "whole system" in the room-those with authority, resources, expertise, information, and need-all in the same conversation.
* Explore the whole before seeking to fix any part. Each person has a part of the whole. When all stakeholders have the chance to put in what they know, each has a picture that none had coming in, and they can plan together in a shared context.
* Put common ground and future action front and center. Problems and conflicts become information to be shared, not action items.
* Set up meetings so people can do the work for themselves. With self-management and personal responsibility encouraged, groups are capable of doing much more than they are usually asked to do.

We will use principles from Future Search to guide our meeting.

Please contact me if you are interested in taking part: or 207 623 3366.

Working to ending Inequalities in Infant Mortality

Ending Inequalities and Creating Equity in Birth Outcomes

There is a large and unconscionable disparity in the rate at which African American and white babies die in the United States. In Wisconsin, black babies are four times more likely to die during their first year of life. To help address this, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health hired the Center’s founder and director, Richard Aronson, M.D., M.P.H., to review the research and promising practices on birth outcome disparities, and make recommendations for a special initiative by the University. Read his report at and a presentation that he gave at a Wingspread Conference held in May 2008, at

Future Search Conference on Home Births

By Richard A. Aronson, MD, MPH, and Jodie Simms

Planning a Future Search Conferenfce on Home Births in the United States

Humane Worlds Center is helping to organize and facilitate a Future Search Conference ( on home births in the United States. It will be a multi-disciplinary consensus conference of key stakeholders around the provision of home birth services in the United States, to be convened by the University of California San Francisco and various organizations, including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Certified Nurse Midwives, Mothers and Midwives Associated, Lamaze International, Association of Women Hospital Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the International Center for Traditional Childbirth. Further, it is hoped that public health practitioners and students, insurers, government agencies, health economists, medical anthropologists, state and national legislators, and women who have given birth will be among the eventual participants. The purpose of the conference is to start to bridge the "divide" between the medical and midwife communities over out-of-hospital births in the United States. Safety of birth in any setting is of utmost priority. Rights to choice and self-determination and culturally appropriate healing are also core values in American discourse that influence this issue. The purpose of this multidisciplinary conference of key stakeholders will be to craft a consensus policy and strategy on provision of home birth services. The project may also inform regulatory discourse, alternative funding structures, and the required modifications of curricula to prepare physicians and midwives in urban, rural and remote settings to provide maternity services across birth settings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mentoring in Action

By Richard A. Aronson, MD, MPH, Annah Kuriakose, and Jodie Simms,

Mentoring is central to the purpose of Humane Worlds Center. Mentoring college students interested in public health, when done well, can provide the seeds for a lifetime of leadership and service to make the world more just and equitable. Such justice and equity is essential to the optimal health of the public. Students who hunger for real world experience in working for social justice can find a rich variety of options in the public health profession. Good mentoring can have a positive, if not inspirational, impact on a student's life. It can equip the student with tools that she can use to make the decision for what to do upon graduating. Putting a student in contact with people who offer additional help along the way is a vital part of the mentoring process. Students are often filled with many ideas about what they are interested in and how to make a difference. Good mentoring provides the help needed to move forward in specific ways, and to focus one's dreams and ideals into something concrete. Mentoring can help solidify goals, and open new doors to reach those goals.

To that end, with the great help of the Career Center, we have organized a public health dialogue and mentoring session at Amherst College on December 5, 2008. Five Amherst alumni and one faculty member will be available at that time to answer questions, discuss concerns, and provide individual mentoring sessions. The announcement follows.

From the Amherst Career Center:

Get this on your calendar - it's a wonderful opportunity...

A Public Health Dialogue: Multiple Paths to Work for Social Justice and Healing
2-3 PM Friday, December 5th, 2008

Join us for a dialogue with alumni and faculty who will speak about their experience in the public health field. Students are encouraged to bring questions and thoughts about opportunities in public health. After the panel, from 3 - 5:30 PM, some panelists will be available for individual advising/mentoring conversations with interested students. Sign up in the Experience section of the Career Center Website. To sign up you will need to upload a resume (a draft version is fine). If you need assistance, please see a Peer Career Advisor, or contact the Career Center.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Public Health and Amherst College January 24, 2009

By Richard A. Aronson, MD, MPH, Jodie Simms (Amherst '09), and Annah Kuriakose (Amherst '09),

We are delighted to announce an exciting event at Amherst College on January 24, 2009. If you'd like to be part of it, please contact one of us (,, akuriakose'

Public Health and Amherst College:
Mobilizing the Power of Communities to Improve a Society’s Health
Date: Saturday, January 24, 2008
Times: TBA
Location: Friedmann Room, Keefe Campus Center, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts
Sponsoring Department/Office: Amherst College Career Center, Amherst Center for Community Engagement, The Dean of Faculty, Amherst Class of 1969 Project, Humane Worlds Center for Maternal and Child Health
Instructor/Facilitator: Dr. Richard Aronson, MD, MPH '69, Jodie Simms '09, Annah Kuriakose '09
Contact: Jodie Simms (, Annah Kuriakose (


This conference will bring together various groups invested in public health, including students, faculty, staff, practitioners, educators, and community members. It will be an action-oriented dialogue on promoting public health awareness, education, and action at Amherst College and beyond. Some topics which will be discussed are: What is public health? What are public health issues that affect Amherst College and the surrounding community? And how can diverse stakeholders work together to create conditions under which all people have the full equal opportunity to thrive in body, mind, and spirit. The day will conclude with a specific action-oriented focus on 1) Strengthening public health partnerships between Amherst College and the surrounding community, and 2) Starting to establish an ongoing student-led public health presence at Amherst.

Monday, November 3, 2008

APHA MCH Leadership Institute 2008

By Richard A. Aronson, MD, MPH

On the weekend of October 25-26, 2008, I had the opportunity to once again participate, as faculty, in the Maternal and Child Health Community Leadership Institute of the American Public Health Association. The Institute took place at the APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, and this year focused on MCH issues and challenges in the Carribbean. A team of 10 public health practitioners and students from Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, and Guyana took part in a fascinating dialogue on leadership related to the public health issues unique to these countries. After reviewing the key areas of research that have important implications for mobilizing the power of communities, I presented the Future Search principles and engaged the group in an exercise rooted in these principles.

The purpose of the Maternal and Child Health Community Leadership Institute is to assist MCH program coordinators, program managers, and MCH advocates in developing and honing their leadership skills to effectively address the health concerns of women and children. The Institute, started in 2000, helps build capacity within each team (participants) in order to strengthen the MCH infrastructure within their community. This course provides a forum for the exploration of new paradigms, and new ways of approaching some of the complex and long-lasting issues related to improving maternal and child health for all populations. Overall the Institute is a part of APHA's continuing efforts to address one of its key priority areas--eliminating racial/ethnic health disparities. Despite efforts in MCH, research still shows that the healthcare needs of women and children are not being met. In order to address these issues of inadequate care faculty members will employ an intersectoral approach that addresses a community's "social and human capital," to assist leaders, citizens, and communities become active participants by diffusing and applying acquired social and scientific knowledge and integrate this new information into evidence-based public health practice. MCH leadership and its key attributes will be defined and methods to apply these skills will be reviewed as well as real time application (framed by the MCH Leadership Competencies). The necessary skills both from theory and practice, such as their ability to promote the health and well being of women and children or their genuine commitment, are assessed. How to be an effective MCH leader is discussed and participants are shown ways to hone or improve their skills. "MCH Leadership competencies: Working with communities and systems" are incorporated in order to promote community engagement, and this is the part that I served as faculty for. This is includes developing the relationships and dialogue between community members and those in leadership roles. This collaborative process should promote exchange of information, ideas, and resources. This course will provide participants with the knowledge to adequately define “what is a community” and demonstrate the necessary skills needed to engage the community. Participants are not only exposed to best practices but also given the opportunity to learn practical skills and develop an action plan to implement once they have returned to their communities. Ultimately, through their collaborative work, these teams will create sustainable and replicable efforts that improve the quality of life for mothers and children in communities worldwide.

Oklahoma Child Abuse Retreat Keynote

By Richard A. Aronson, MD, MPH

Humane Worlds Center will present the keynote address at a Statewide Child Abuse Retreat for Oklahoma on November 5, 2008. The event is sponsored by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Family Support and Prevention Service, and the Oklahoma State Interagency Child Abuse Prevention Task Force (ITF).

The following is from the program agenda:

Presentation by Dr. Richard Aronson, MD, MPH
Director of the Humane Worlds Center for Maternal and Child Health

Dr. Aronson will focus on how society has a vested interest in seeing that all children do well, that they thrive in mind, body, and spirit; and that we all benefit when children grow up to become healthy, productive, and compassionate adults. The interests of society as a whole – indeed, its very security – depend on the health and safety of our children. They ride on the extent to which we invest in children as our most precious resource and in parenthood and childrearing as the most important of all “occupations”. As Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said, “If you bungle raising your children, nothing else in life matters very much.”

Dr. Richard Aronson received the 2007 Ray E. Helfer, MD Award, presented by The National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Aronson is a Board-Certified pediatrician with 30 years of service and leadership as a public health and medical professional, and currently serves as the Director of the Humane Worlds Center for Maternal and Child Health in Maine. Dr. Aronson's career includes a decade of clinical pediatric practice as a developmental pediatrician, 15 years of Future Search facilitation, and senior level leadership in the Vermont, Wisconsin, and Maine State Health Departments since 1983. He has led numerous statewide efforts to prevent child abuse in Maine, as well as held clinical faculty positions in Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the University of Wisconsin Medical School, and the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Aronson earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1974, during which time he obtained a one-year fellowship to work with malnourished children in Cali, Colombia, and a master's degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1988.

Youth Leadership Training December 2008

By Richard A. Aronson, MD, MPH

Humane Worlds Center is involved in a number of exciting events in the autumn of 2008. Here is one of them:

Leadership and Communication: Taking a Closer Look
Leadership Development Series for Youth Ages 14-22 with Special Health Needs and/or a Disability
December 13, 2008
9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Senator Inn, 284 Western Avenue, Augusta, Maine

This day included a three hour leadership learning session, which I had the privilege of facilitating, for 20 youth with special health needs and/or a disability who might be interested in joining a regional or state Youth Advisory Council in Maine, USA.

In the Leadership session, I facilitated a dynamic learning conversation about the differences between people. Dialogue, with active participation by the youth and their parents, focused on how sometimes we use differences as a way to divide ourselves from each other, or to act in ways that hurt others. By understanding how this kind of behavior works, we discussed in small groups and large group dialogue how we can become better at treating others in the same way that we expect to be treated. Through a powerful video, "A Class Divided" and conversation using a Future Search , we started to understand prejudice: not as something that only some people have, but as something that we all may show in communicating with others. By understanding how we all have a tendency to be prejudiced, we can learn how to listen to each other with respect and treat each other in ways that are fair. Some of us have experienced prejudice merely because of our health issues or disability. The overall goal of our experience together was to learn how to stay positive in all your communications by:
• Understanding how each of us is unique in how we view our world, and how that makes a difference in how we listen and communicate with each other?
• Understanding the meaning of culture and how it applies to us?
• Getting involved in a leadership role in Maine on issues that affect youth with disabilities and/or special health needs.

The announcement of the event described Dr. Aronson in the following way: Dick lives in Hallowell, Maine. He is grateful for the wonderful opportunities for education and inspiration that he has had throughout his life. Dick is deeply committed to peace, social justice, and equality for all people. He is especially dedicated to making the world better and more humane for children and youth. He has aspired to put his ideals into action through his leadership as a healer (pediatrician) and public servant (public health needs). He really enjoys teaching that engages everyone in interactive dialogue, and conversation in which all voices are deeply respected.

Co-sponsors: The Maine Support Network on behalf of Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine CDC, Children with Special Health Needs (CSHN).

On-site facilitators: Mal Cyr, Pam Flood and Corda Kinzie.

This workshop was designed for youth ages 14-22 with Special Health Needs and/or Disability.

Follow-up questions: Call or text Mallory Cyr at US +1 2075761980 Call or email