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Award-winning New York Times reporter delivering commencement address

May 10, 2023
by Colin Poitras

Award-winning New York Times health and science reporter Apoorva Mandavilli will deliver the keynote address at the Yale School of Public Health’s 2023 Commencement on May 22.

Part of a team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mandavilli will speak about the importance of public health service in the face of myriad challenges.

“Public health has never been more in the public’s eye, more controversial, or more needed,” Mandavilli said when recently contacted by email. “We should all be grateful for people who choose to serve communities despite all that.”

As a health and science writer for the New York Times, Mandavilli has been one of the nation’s leading journalists covering the coronavirus pandemic, the mpox (formerly monkeypox) outbreak, vaccinations, global health, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mandavilli has been writing about science and health for the past 20 years, the last of three of which as a full-time reporter for the New York Times. She received the 2019 Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Reporting. Awarded annually by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, the Cohn Prize honors a writer for a body of published work distinguished by its uncommon clarity, accuracy, breadth of coverage, enterprise, insight, and narrative power as well as its profound and lasting contribution to public awareness and understanding of critical advances in medical science. In addition to the New York Times, Mandavilli’s articles have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker (online), Slate, Nature Medicine, and Scientific American. Her work has been featured in the anthology, “Best American Science and Nature Writing.”

Mandavilli is the founding editor-in-chief of Spectrum, an award-winning news site on autism science that grew an audience of millions. She also co-founded Culture Dish, which is an organization whose mission is to enhance and highlight diversity in science journalism. Mandavilli is the founding chair of the Diversity Committee for the National Association of Science Writers. In addition to her writing, Mandavilli has served as an adjunct professor at New York University’s Science Health and Environmental Reporting program for several years. She has a master’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in Science Journalism from New York University.

The 2023 Yale School of Public Health Commencement will take place on Monday, May 22. More details about commencement ceremonies can be found on the YSPH Commencement Webpage.

Others participating in the May 22 ceremonies include:

  • MPH Student Marshal – Eiman Abdoalsadig, MPH ’23, Social and Behavioral Sciences, student ambassador for Diversity, Equity, and Belonging. The Student Marshal accepts the symbolic degree on behalf of all MPH graduates from President Salovey at the University Commencement Ceremony.
  • YSPH Banner Bearer – Maame-Owusua Boateng, MPH ’23, Social and Behavioral Sciences, outgoing president of the Student Association of Yale School of Public Health (SAYPH) in recognition of her service to the YSPH community.
  • MPH Class Speaker – Noushyar Panahpour Eslami, MPH ’23, HPM (Health Policy). He has been a legislative intern to state Senator Saud Anwar in the Connecticut General Assembly this semester, is a part-time research assistant at Yale Emergency Medicine, and was director of finance for the HAVEN Free Clinic in 2022.
Submitted by Colin Poitras on May 10, 2023