Distinguished Behavioral Epidemiologist Becomes Chair of International Health Department

Posted in News Story

July 12, 2021 – Dr. Jennifer Huang Bouey, a distinguished behavioral epidemiologist who has been on Georgetown’s faculty for 16 years, is the new chair of the Department of International Health at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

Bouey, who is a tenured associate professor of international health and previously held the Susan H. Mayer Professorship in Health Equity, returns to Georgetown after a sabbatical at the RAND Corporation, where she served as Tang Chair for China Policy.

“I am looking forward to working with all faculty, staff, and students at NHS,” said Bouey, who succeeds longtime chair Dr. Bernhard Liese, who will remain on the department’s faculty.

‘Strong Foundations’

Dr. Jennifer Huang Bouey, a distinguished behavioral epidemiologist who has been on Georgetown’s faculty for 16 years, is the new chair of the Department of International Health at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.
Dr. Jennifer Huang Bouey, a distinguished behavioral epidemiologist who has been on Georgetown’s faculty for 16 years, is the new chair of the Department of International Health at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

“My goal is to maintain the strong foundations for our two global health education programs,” she said, adding she wants to “strengthen the ties of education programs to expanding global health research, increase the visibility and impact of global health research from Georgetown, support faculty in pursuing a full academic career, and continue to improve on transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion in our school governing system.”   

At the school’s 2019 Values Based Lecture, which Bouey keynoted, she discussed her mission-centered career focus, including achieving health equity for individuals who have migrated from rural to urban areas in China and for immigrants in the United States. Visit a story about the lecture.

Expertise During Pandemic

During the beginning stages of her sabbatical at RAND, Bouey traveled globally to help build collaborations with government agencies, think tanks, and universities, and she presented at several large meetings. 

In January of 2020, while the world was just beginning to learn about SARS-CoV-2, Bouey happened to be at a conference in Beijing. During that winter and spring, she provided multiple expert testimonies about China’s public health systems and COVID-19 and its impacts at U.S. Congressional committee meetings. 

Her knowledge of China’s health infrastructure led to many opportunities to share her expertise, including at think tank panels, through op-eds, and in major world media outlets, in which she has been quoted more than 125 times, according to RAND’s media office.

Global Health Focus

Bouey continues work on projects focused on China and Asia, including U.S.-China dialogues, strategies related to COVID-19, gender equity, and anti-Asian racism. The researcher has published, since 2019, a dozen peer-reviewed articles and three RAND reports.

Given the School of Health that Georgetown plans to launch by July 2022, Bouey is excited about the opportunities in global health. 

“The crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased attention and opportunities in global public health,” she said. “The global health program is well-positioned at the forefront of this work to create exciting opportunities in education, research, and public engagement.” 

Students and Values 

Bouey enjoys mentoring and teaching students as they develop their own passions in the global health space. She has co-authored articles with undergraduates and has helped them become critically thinking scientists comfortable with different research approaches.

“Mentoring NHS students is the most enjoyable work in my 16 years’ tenure at Georgetown and the most unique reward in working in academia,” said Bouey, whose daughter now attends Georgetown. “Our students are intelligent, motivated, passionate, and always eager to learn.” 

Bouey created and led an experiential immersion summer course for undergraduates in China and hopes to introduce students to the values of social justice and service.

“I am a strong believer in Georgetown’s philosophies in cura personalis and the devotion to social justice,” she said.

By Bill Cessato