Jennifer Beard, PhD, MA, MPH, is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health at Boston University School of Public Health, the Associate Editor of Public Health Post, and an Assistant Director for Narrative in the Center for Antiracist Research. She developed and leads the BUSPH Public Health Writing Program and also directs the MPH Global Health Certificate. She created and teaches courses in global mental health, global health storytelling, and public health writing. Dr. Beard founded the BU Program for Global Health Storytelling – a collaboration between BUSPH, the BU College of Communication, and the Pulitzer Center – which analyzes the similarities and tensions between global health research and journalism and seeks ways to improve collaboration.
Dr. Beard's scholarship explores the intersection between population health, the arts and humanities, and journalism; and the health and well-being of key populations at high risk for HIV and trauma including sex workers, drug users, orphans, and other highly vulnerable children. From 2010-2014, she was the principal investigator for the multi-study Ghana Operations Research for Key Populations project. The 9 qualitative studies (done in collaboration with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the Ghana AIDS Commission, and USAID) identified the HIV prevention and harm reduction needs of young female sex workers and their boyfriends, prisoners, men who have sex with men, post-secondary female students, women who work in bars, people who inject drugs, and people living with HIV at risk of dropping out of antiretroviral therapy. She has also worked in India, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine, and Zambia.
Dr. Beard started her academic life in the humanities, completing her BA in English literature at Youngstown State University, her MA at Ohio University with a focus on Victorian literature, and her PhD at the University of New Hampshire specializing in twentieth-century British women writers. She remains a devoted reader of novels and believes that her global health teaching and research interests are rooted in her passion for Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, and Barbara Pym.