About Radcliffe / Faculty Directors

Sara Bleich

  • Medicine
  • Director of the social sciences program and Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; professor of public health policy, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and vice provost for special projects, Harvard University
Portrait of Sara Bleich
Photo by Fawn Deviney

Sara Bleich is the director of the social sciences program and a Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute; a professor of public health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and Harvard University’s inaugural vice provost for special projects, leading ongoing work related to the recommendations from the Presidential Committee on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery. She is also a member of the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Prior to her appointment as Harvard’s vice provost for special projects, Bleich served in the Biden administration as the director of nutrition security and health equity at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service and as the senior advisor for COVID-19 in the Office of the Secretary at USDA. She was also a White House fellow during the Obama administration, where she worked at USDA as a senior policy adviser for food, nutrition, and consumer services and with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. With more than 180 peer-reviewed publications, Bleich is a policy expert and researcher who specializes in diet-related diseases, food insecurity, and racial inequality. A signature theme throughout her research is an interest in asking simple, meaningful questions that can fill important knowledge gaps to help inform policy.

Bleich earned her BA from Columbia University and her PhD from Harvard University. She taught at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University from 2007 to 2016. She has received the 2015 Prize for Research in Public Interest Communications and numerous competitive grant awards from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Readying for a Reckoning (Harvard Magazine, 2/24/23)

Addressing Our Legacy (Harvard Gazette, 1/27/23)

Sara Bleich Named Vice Provost for Special Projects (Harvard Gazette, 11/14/22)

Harvard Chan School Experts Tapped for Biden Administration Posts (Harvard Gazette, 1/25/21)

Hunger on the Rise Amid Pandemic (Harvard Gazette, 7/1/20)

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