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The Deans Sommer and Klag Professorship of the Practice in Public Health Advocacy

Bloomberg School of Public Health

Established in 2018 by Sidney and Helaine Lerner in honor of Deans Alfred Sommer and Michael Klag

SIDNEY and HELAINE LERNER have been longtime friends of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. They are major supporters of the Center for a Livable Future and the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing.

Helaine Lerner founded GRACE Communications Foundation to create awareness of the problems with our industrial food system and to foster collaboration between NGO, academic and philanthropic partners to find innovative solutions.

Sidney Lerner (deceased) was a retired advertising executive who pioneered the popular Meatless Monday and Healthy Monday campaigns at the Bloomberg School.

In November 2014, they established the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion of which the Lerner Professor is director. The Center is committed to the development, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative and effective health promotion interventions that address key health issues, as well as health promotion and advocacy training activities for faculty and students.

ALFRED SOMMER is Dean Emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Pubic Heath. He served as dean from 1990-2005. In an incredible career marked by lasting contributions to ophthalmology, epidemiology, micronutrient research, disaster relief and other areas, Dean Emeritus Alfred Sommer is best known for his research into vitamin A deficiency.


Dean Emeritus MICHAEL KLAG served as dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health from 2005-2017. He is an internationally known expert on the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular and kidney disease, and a Johns Hopkins faculty member since 1987. Under his leadership, the School established more than 10 new centers and institutes, including the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.



Held by Shelley A. Hearne

SHELLEY A. HEARNE, DrPH, is the inaugural Deans Sommer and Klag Professor of the Practice in Public Health Advocacy in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

She has three decades of experience building and leading public health advocacy, ranging from helping write, pass, and implement new policies at the local, state, and federal levels to creating leading organizations that catalyze change.

Dr. Hearne was the founding Executive Director of the Trust for America’s Health, a national advocacy organization dedicated to preventing epidemics and protecting people. She was the managing director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Health Group, overseeing its food, biomedical, and financial security programs. Most recently, Dr. Hearne served as the president of City Health, an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente that advances health equity policy improvements in the nation’s largest cities. Additionally, she runs the Forsythia Foundation, an environmental health philanthropy.

Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Pew Environmental Health Commission, director of the Big Cities Health Coalition, the Acting Director of The NJ DEP Office of Pollution Prevention, and a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She has a long track record of board service, including chair of the American Public Health Associations’ Executive Board, Vice President of the Council on Education for Public Health (the accreditation body for public health schools), ten years on the Radiation Effects Research Foundation board in Japan, and numerous National Academy of Science oversight boards and committees.

Dr. Hearne received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and environmental studies with honors from Bowdoin College and a Doctor of Public Health in environmental health science from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.