Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to teach at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health

WASHINGTON — Former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s next chapter will take her to Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, where she will teach a course tentatively titled “Health Policy and Leadership,” based largely on her experiences guiding Chicago through of the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with health equity issues.

Lightfoot will be a Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the school for the term beginning at the end of August.

Eric Andersen, director of the Senior Leadership Scholars Program and Program of Study at the school, said in an interview that “we reached out” to Lightfoot because “I think as a mayor and as a leader she faced a lot of pressing public health issues, most notably navigating the pandemic

“We believe our students will benefit from their experiences, insights, and insights into leadership decision making.”

The Menschel program, the school said in a statement, “offers a rare opportunity for those who have recently held high-level positions in government, multilateral institutions, nonprofit organizations, and journalism to spend time at the school mentoring and teaching students. students aspiring to similar roles. Lightfoot will have regular office hours to meet with students, faculty, and staff during their time on campus.”

Past Menschel Fellows include former mayors and governors, most recently last year former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Boston Mayor Kim Janey.

Lightfoot finished a term as mayor of Chicago on May 15 after losing a re-election bid, and the Harvard post is one part of the post-mayoral life she is putting together, she said in an interview Wednesday.

As an attorney, Lightfoot has taught before, primarily trial advocacy courses at the University of Chicago and Northwestern Law Schools.

Teaching graduate students at Harvard “gives me an opportunity to share my insights and experiences from the times we’ve lived with people who are very engaged in the public sector,” he said.

Lightfoot said his wife, Amy, and their daughter will remain in Chicago while he accepts the eight-week fellowship at Harvard. Although this is a residential fellowship, Lightfoot said he expects to be going to and from Chicago.

At Harvard, “I want to take advantage of the other opportunities that are sure to present themselves, both to participate as part of the campus community and to contribute in other ways as well.”

Harvard fellows at the different schools on the main Cambridge campus and in Boston, where the school of public health is located, are often invited to speak and participate in other programs and events.

When asked about the course, Lightfoot said that he is working on his curriculum. “Obviously, I will share details about how we handled the public health crisis, hopefully of a lifetime, but I will also talk about how we saw this crisis as an opportunity to address some long-standing public health challenges in the city of Chicago. ”.

Lightfoot said she looks forward to inviting Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady to speak with her students.

Much of Lightfoot’s public health focus as mayor was dealing with COVID. Lightfoot said his course will also address how his administration did other things related to the health of Chicagoans, “particularly the state of health of black Chicagoans. We made a declaration of racism as a public health crisis.”

Lightfoot said he will focus more on practice than theory.

The Chicago experience will be used as a case study at times, Lightfoot said, and his course will also compare and contrast “what was happening nationally and internationally.”

Lightfoot, who is not independently wealthy, said she is nailing down other parts of her post-mayoral life, has to earn a living, and the Harvard scholarship is the first to be announced.

Since May 15, Lightfoot said he has been “spending a lot of time reconnecting with people professionally, but also reconnecting with people personally and doing some kind of research and conversations on the ground about things that interest me as well.” in my post-mayor life.”

When asked if he sees a book in his future, he said, “That’s a possibility.”

Regarding teaching at Harvard for a term after an intense four years on City Council, Lightfoot said, “I’m going to open up to the campus environment.”