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Brett NelsonBrett D. Nelson, MD, MPH '04, DTM&H

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Pediatrician and Global Health Faculty, Massachusetts General Hospital;
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Brett Nelson is committed to a life of improving the health of newborns, children and mothers worldwide through research, innovation and advocacy for vulnerable populations, particularly newborns and children in settings affected by poverty, conflict or disaster. 

Since the early 1990s, Nelson has been involved in clinical care, academic research, program management, and global health consultancy in dozens of disrupted and resource-limited areas while working for organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control, Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF, International Rescue Committee, International Red Cross and Red Crescent, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard University. He helped establish the United States’ first Pediatric Global Health Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and was its first fellow. Recently in Liberia, Dr. Nelson served as the country’s Senior Pediatrician and as the Chair of Pediatrics and Newborn Medicine for the country's sole teaching hospital. He currently leads newborn and child health programs in several countries in East and West Africa. 

Dr. Nelson works clinically as a newborn hospitalist, he leads several global health initiatives, and he directs a popular course at Harvard Medical School on global health and tropical medicine. In addition to his degree from BSPH, he holds a diploma degree in tropical medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Nelson has published two textbooks, including the new Wiley-Blackwell medical textbook, Essential Clinical Global Health, and over 80 peer-reviewed articles.