Public health experts in service of journalism.

Information equity is a public health issue. Health Desk provides rapid responses to health questions from fact-checkers and journalists. We host content about COVID-19 vaccine created by Science Media Centres around the world.

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Our mission

Health Desk is an initiative by Meedan.

Health Desk is committed to making important and topical COVID-19 information accessible and deadline-friendly to newsrooms, freelance journalists, fact-checking organizations, and communicators around the world, in the languages important for you and your audiences.

Health Desk provides context, summaries, and responses to key COVID-19 topics and questions. We are happy to follow-up with more information as-needed, especially when new research might shift the latest scientific understanding of an issue.

Our content comes directly from partnerships with journalists, fact-checking organizations and other non-profit organizations to make sure our research and summaries cover the topics that matter the most.

Our growing team of experts includes researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Stanford Health Communications Initiative, and scientists with experience working around the world and in multiple languages.

Are you a fact-checker, journalist, health communicator or health organization with a COVID-19 topic or question you’d like us to work on? Send us a question and our experts will do their best to help you.

Statement on editorial independence
Our work is grounded in the latest scientific research and health information. Meedan’s team of Health-Desk scientists, writers, journalists, and experts do not engage in, advocate for, or publicize their personal views on policy issues that might lead a reasonable member of the public to see our team’s work as biased. If you have concerns or comments about potential bias in our work, please contact our editorial team at health@meedan.com.

Meedan's Health-Desk.org makes every effort to provide health- and science-related information that is accurate and reflects the best evidence available at the time of publication. To submit an error or correction request, please email our editorial team at health@meedan.com. All error or correction requests will be reviewed by the Health Desk Editorial and Science Teams. Where there is evidence of a factual error or typo, we will update the explainer with a correction or clarification and follow up with the reader on the status of the request.

Our mission

Health Desk is an initiative by Meedan.

Health Desk is committed to making important and topical COVID-19 information accessible and deadline-friendly to newsrooms, freelance journalists, fact-checking organizations, and communicators around the world, in the languages important for you and your audiences.

Health Desk provides context, summaries, and responses to key COVID-19 topics and questions. We are happy to follow-up with more information as-needed, especially when new research might shift the latest scientific understanding of an issue.

Our content comes directly from partnerships with journalists, fact-checking organizations and other non-profit organizations to make sure our research and summaries cover the topics that matter the most.

Our growing team of experts includes researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Stanford Health Communications Initiative, and scientists with experience working around the world and in multiple languages.

Are you a fact-checker, journalist, health communicator or health organization with a COVID-19 topic or question you’d like us to work on? Send us a question and our experts will do their best to help you.

Statement on editorial independence
Our work is grounded in the latest scientific research and health information. Meedan’s team of Health-Desk scientists, writers, journalists, and experts do not engage in, advocate for, or publicize their personal views on policy issues that might lead a reasonable member of the public to see our team’s work as biased. If you have concerns or comments about potential bias in our work, please contact our editorial team at health@meedan.com.

Meedan's Health-Desk.org makes every effort to provide health- and science-related information that is accurate and reflects the best evidence available at the time of publication. To submit an error or correction request, please email our editorial team at health@meedan.com. All error or correction requests will be reviewed by the Health Desk Editorial and Science Teams. Where there is evidence of a factual error or typo, we will update the explainer with a correction or clarification and follow up with the reader on the status of the request.

Nat Gyenes

Nat Gyenes, MPH, leads Meedan’s Digital Health Lab, an initiative dedicated to addressing health information equity challenges, with a focus on the role that technology plays in mediating access to health through access to information. She received her masters in public health from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, with a focus on equitable access to health information and human rights. As a research affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, she studies the ways in which health information sources and outputs can impact health outcomes. She lectures at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on Health, Media and Human Rights. Before joining Meedan, Nat worked at the MIT Media Lab as a health misinformation researcher.

Megan Marrelli

Megan Marrelli is a Peabody award-winning journalist and the News Lead of Health Desk. She focuses on news innovation in today’s complex information environment. Megan has worked on the digital breaking news desk of the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, and on the news production team of the Netflix series Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj. She was a Canadian Association of Journalists finalist for a team Chronicle Herald investigation into house fires in Halifax, Nova Scotia. On top of her role at Meedan Megan works with the investigative journalism incubator Type Investigations, where she is reporting a data-driven story on fatal patient safety failures in U.S. hospitals. She holds a Master of Science from the Columbia Journalism School and lives in New York.

Dr. Anshu Shroff

Anshu holds a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a Humanitarian Studies, Ethics, and Human Rights concentrator at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. She is a Harvard Voices in Leadership writing fellow and student moderator, Prajna Fellow, and the John C. and Katherine Vogelheim Hansen Fund for Africa Awardee. Anshu’s interests include: systemic issues of emergency management, crisis leadership, intersectoral approaches to climate risk resilience, inclusion and human rights, international development, access and sustainability of global health systems, and socio-economic equity. Anshu has worked at the United Nations, UNDP, UNICEF, Gates Foundation, and the Institute of Healthcare Improvement.

Dr. Christin Gilmer

Dr. Christin Gilmer is a Global Health Scientist with a background in infectious diseases, international health systems, and population health and technology. In the last 15 years, Christin has worked for the WHO, University of Oxford, World Health Partners, USAID, UNFPA, the FXB Center for Health & Human Rights and more, including volunteering for Special Olympics International’s health programs and running health- and technology-based nonprofits across the country. She obtained her Doctor of Public Health Degree at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, her MPH at Columbia, and spent time studying at M.I.T., Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School. Christin has worked in dozens of countries across five continents and loves running programs and research internationally, but she is currently based in Seattle.

Dr. Jessica Huang

Dr. Jessica Huang is currently a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fellow with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Bloomberg City Leadership Initiative. Previously, she worked and taught with D-Lab at MIT, leading poverty reduction and humanitarian innovation projects with UNICEF, UNHCR, Oxfam, USAID, foreign government ministries and community-based organizations across dozens of countries. She also co-founded a social enterprise that has provided access to safe drinking water to thousands in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Formerly trained as an environmental engineer, she earned a Doctorate of Public Health from Harvard and a Master’s in Learning, Design and Technology (LDT) from Stanford. Her projects have won multiple awards, including the top prize in A Grand Challenge for Development: Technology to Support Education in Crisis & Conflict Settings, and led to her being recognized for Learning 30 Under 30. She enjoys being an active volunteer, supporting several non-profits in health, education, environmental sustainability and social justice.

Jenna Sherman

Jenna Sherman, MPH, is a Program Manager for Meedan’s Digital Health Lab, an initiative focused on addressing the urgent challenges around health information equity. She has her MPH from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Social and Behavioral Sciences, with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health. Prior to her graduate studies, Jenna served as a Senior Project Coordinator at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, where she worked on tech ethics with an emphasis on mitigating bias and discrimination in AI and health misinformation online. Previous experiences include helping to develop accessible drug pricing policies, researching access to quality information during epidemics, and studying the impact of maternal incarceration on infant health.

Nour Sharara

Nour is a Global Health Strategy consultant based in Dakar (Senegal) and specialized in health system strengthening. Most recently, she worked with Dalberg Advisors focusing on Epidemic Preparedness & Response and Vaccination Coverage and Equity across 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her previous work experiences include researching the clinical needs in point-of-care technology in cancer care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston; and coordinating the implementation of a colonoscopy quality assurance initiative for a colorectal cancer screening program at McGill University in Montreal. Nour has a Master of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a Master of Arts in Medical Ethics and Law from King’s College London, and a Bachelor of Science from McGill University. She is fluent in French and English.

Shalini Joshi

Shalini Joshi is a Program Lead at Meedan and formerly the Executive Editor and co-founder of Khabar Lahariya - India’s only independent, digital news network available to viewers in remote rural areas and small towns. Shalini transformed Khabar Lahariya from one edition of a printed newspaper to an award-winning digital news agency available to over ten million viewers. She has a sophisticated understanding of local media and gender, and the ways in which they can inhibit women from participating in the public sphere in South Asia. Shalini was a TruthBuzz Partner & Fellow with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). She is a trainer in journalism, verification and fact-checking. She has designed, implemented and strengthened news reporting & editorial policies and practices in newsrooms and fact-checking organisations. Shalini set up and managed the tipline used to collect WhatsApp-based rumors for Checkpoint, a research project to study misinformation at scale during the 2019 Indian general elections.

Mohit Nair

Mohit Nair currently serves as Partnerships Director at FairVote Washington, a non-profit organisation based in Seattle, WA. Previously, he worked with the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Vienna Evaluation Unit and with MSF Operational Centre Barcelona in India. He has conducted research studies on diverse topics, including the drivers of antibiotic resistance in West Bengal and perceptions of palliative care in Bihar. Mohit has also worked as a research consultant with Save the Children in Laos to identify gaps in the primary health system and develop a district-wide action plan for children with disabilities. He holds a Master of Public Health from the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.

Dr. Seema Yasmin

Seema Yasmin is an Emmy Award-winning medical journalist, poet, physican and author. Yasmin served as an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she investigated disease outbreaks. She trained in journalism at the University of Toronto and in medicine at the University of Cambridge. Yasmin was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news in 2017 with a team from The Dallas Morning News and received an Emmy Award for her reporting on neglected diseases. She received two grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and was selected as a John S. Knight Fellow in Journalism at Stanford University iin 2017 where she investigated the spread of health misinformation and disinformation during epidemics.

Dr. Saskia Popescu

Dr. Saskia Popescu is an infectious disease epidemiologist and infection preventionist with a focus on hospital biopreparedness and the role of infection prevention in health security efforts. She is an expert in healthcare biopreparedness and is nationally recognized for her work in infection prevention and enhancing hospital response to infectious diseases events. Currently, Dr. Popescu is an Adjunct Professor with the University of Arizona, and an Affiliate Faculty with George Mason University, while serving on the Coronavirus Task Force within the Federation of American Scientists, and on a data collection subcommittee for SARS-CoV-2 response with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. She holds a PhD in Biodefense from George Mason University, a Masters in Public Health with a focus on infectious diseases, and a Masters of Arts in International Security Studies, from the University of Arizona. Dr. Popescu is an Alumni Fellow of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Health Security. She is also an external expert for the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), and a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship at George Mason University. In 2010, she was a recipient of the Frontier Interdisciplinary eXperience (FIX) HS-STEM Career Development Grant in Food Defense through the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. During her work as an infection preventionist, she managed Ebola response, a 300+ measles exposure resulting in an MMWR article, and bioterrorism preparedness in the hospital system. More recently, she created and disseminated a gap analysis for a 6-hospital system to establish vulnerabilities for high-consequence diseases, helping to guide the creation of a high-consequence disease initiative to enhance readiness at the healthcare level.

Ben Kertman

Ben Kertman is a behavior change scientist and public health specialist who became a user research consultant to help organizations design experiences that change behaviors and improve human well-being. Impatient with the tendency of behavior change companies to use a single discipline approach (e.g. behavioral economics) and guard their methods behind paywalls, Ben spent the last 7 years developing an open-source, multi-discipline, behavior change framework for researchers and designers to apply to UX. Ben is an in-house SME at Fidelity Investments and consults for non-profits on the side. Ben holds a masters in Social and Behavior Science and Public Health from Harvard.

Dr. Emily LaRose

Emily LaRose is a Registered Dietitian and currently works as a consultant to The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). She has been a dietitian for more than 15 years and has previously worked for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), PATH, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Johnson & Wales University. In her work she has written specialty reports on topics including global human milk banking practices and innovative food system programs; developed tools and protocols for clinical nutrition care delivery in humanitarian hospitals; taught university-level clinical nutrition courses; and provided nutritional care for critically ill hospitalized patients. Emily is currently a Doctor of Public Health candidate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she has completed the Nutrition and Global Health Concentration. She also holds a Master of Science in Dietetics from Kansas State University and a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University.

Dr. Bhargav Krishna

Bhargav Krishna is a Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, and adjunct faculty at the Public Health Foundation of India and Azim Premji University. He previously managed the Centre for Environmental Health at the Public Health Foundation of India, leading research and teaching on environmental health at the Foundation. He has been a member of Government of India expert committees on air pollution and biomedical waste, and has led work with Union and State governments on air pollution, climate change, and health systems. His work has been funded by the World Health Organization, Rockefeller Foundation, Packard Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, and others. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in Biotechnology and Environmental Science respectively, and graduated recently from the Doctor of Public Health program at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Bhargav also co-founded Care for Air, a non-profit working on raising awareness related to air pollution with school children in Delhi.

Dr. Christine Mutaganzwa

Dr. Christine Mutaganzwa is a medical doctor pursuing a Ph.D. program at the Université de Montréal in Biomedical Sciences. She holds a Master of Medical Sciences in Global Health Delivery (MMSc-GHD) from Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, and a Master of Sciences (MSc) in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She graduated from the University of Rwanda with a degree in General Medicine and Surgery. Christine has worked with referral hospitals in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, during her medical training and after graduation. In addition, she has extensive experience working with rural communities in the Eastern province of Rwanda, where she organized clinical and research activities in active collaboration with colleagues within and outside Rwanda. Her research portfolio cuts across maternal and child health to infectious and chronic diseases. Christine is an advocate for children's healthcare services, especially for underserved populations. She is part of a community of scientists translating scientific findings into understandable and accessible information for the general population. Christine is an avid reader and a lover of classical/contemporary music.

Dr. Ahmad Hegazi

Ahmad is an experienced physician, who earned his medical degree from Cairo University, Faculty of Medicine, in Egypt. He practiced medicine between 2012 and 2017 as a general practitioner where he was involved in primary care, health quarantine services, and radiology. He then taught medicine in Cairo for two years prior to starting his MPH program, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he supplemented his experience with knowledge on epidemiology, health systems and global health issues. Additionally, Ahmad has an interest in nutrition, which started as a personal curiosity to how he can improve his own health, then quickly saw the potential for public health nutrition in the prevention and management of multiple, lifelong diseases. His enrollment at Harvard started his transition towards learning about food, and public health nutrition. Ahmad now combines the knowledge and experience of his medical career, with the learnings of his degree to navigate public health topics in his writing and his career. He is a life-long learner and continues to gather knowledge and experience, and works towards maximizing his impact through combatting misinformation through his work with Meedan.

Dr. Uzma Alam

Dr. Uzma Alam is a global health professional working at the intersection of infectious diseases and healthcare delivery in the international development and humanitarian contexts. She focuses on the use of evidence and innovation to inform strategies and policies. Her work has appeared globally across print and media outlets.She has international experience with roles of increasing responsibility across the science value chain having served with academic, non-profit, corporate, and governmental agencies, including advisory commissions and corporate counsel. Uzma is the former secretary of the Association of Women in Science and editor of the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics. Currently she serves on the Board of the Geneva Foundation. She also leads the Biomedical and Health Sciences Portfolio of the Developing Excellence, Leadership and Training in Science in Africa program (DELTAS-Africa). A US$100 million programme supporting development of world-class scientific leaders on the continent. Plus heading the African Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Priorities Programme. A programme that engages Africa’s science and political leaders to identify the top STI priorities for the continent that if addressed, offer the highest return on investment for Africa’s sustainable development.

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