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In Memoriam: Jonathan Mann

Jonathan Mann died on Wednesday, September 2, in the crash of an airplane bound from New York to Geneva, where he was to attend a World Health Organization conference. He was 51. His wife, Mary Lou Clements-Mann, also perished. She had been a visiting professor of international health at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) during 1997.

A world-renowned researcher and champion of human rights, Mann joined the school's faculty in 1990 as professor in epidemiology and international health. In 1993, he was appointed the first François-Xavier Bagnoud professor of health and human rights and founding director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights. This past January, Mann left HSPH to assume the deanship of the school of public health of the Allegheny University of Health Sciences in Philadelphia.

Mann received his undergraduate education at Harvard College, graduating in 1969, before earning his MD at Washington University School of Medicine in 1974. Following medical school, he worked as an epidemiologist in New Mexico for the US Public Health Service and the New Mexico Health Services Division.

Following a return to HSPH to earn his MPH degree in 1980, Mann began to apply his intellect and skills to forming international strategies for reducing and preventing the spread of AIDS. He founded and directed Project SIDA, an AIDS research project based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), that incorporated epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory components in a collaborative effort of Zairian, US (Centers for Disease Control), and Belgian AIDS researchers. In 1986, Mann founded the World Health Organization's Global Program on AIDS, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

While at HSPH, Mann continued to be involved in world AIDS issues, chairing the Global AIDS Policy Coalition, an independent research and advocacy organization, and editing two of the signal reports on the status of AIDS, AIDS in the World (Harvard University Press, 1992) and AIDS in the World II (Oxford University Press, 1996).

His international experiences with AIDS policy brought to his attention the link between human rights and health. He was particularly interested in the effects of health policies on human rights, the health effects of human rights violations, and the inextricable connection between promoting and protecting health and rights. His suggestion began the HSPH commencement tradition of awarding each graduate a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Acting Dean James Ware said: "Jonathan was a powerful influence for widening the scope of public health to include the study of human rights. He led the way at Harvard, and the world followed. Between his work in this area, and his pioneering AIDS work in international communities, Jonathan's legacy is millions of healthier lives.

"He was a talented instructor and sought-after advisor. He inspired scores of students to the possibilities and satisfactions of a career in public health, and he inspired his faculty colleagues as well. We, and the world, will miss his enthusiasm, his guidance, and his passion for public health."

Mann is survived by his mother, Ida Mann, a sister and brothers, his former wife Marie-Paule, and his children Naomi, Lydia, and Aaron. A memorial gathering for the HSPH community will be held on Sunday, September 27, at 3:00 p.m. in the Kresge cafeteria.

Jonathan Mann

Jonathan Mann, 1947-1998.

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