Judith Palfrey to Lead Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Initiative

Adams House master and pediatrics professor takes leave to direct Let's Move!

Adams House master Judith Palfrey, the Brazelton professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (and also a professor of global health and social medicine), a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has been appointed executive director of Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative against childhood obesity (read the White House announcement and the College's announcement). “As a doctor, I know how important fighting the epidemic of childhood obesity is, and I’ve seen firsthand the struggles families can face in keeping their kids healthy," Palfrey said in the White House statement. "That’s why I’m so eager to work with the First Lady to build on the successes of Let’s Move! and continue to empower parents to make the healthier choices. I look forward to working with communities all over America as they support families and children.”

Palfrey and her husband, Sean (see the Harvard Portrait), also a pediatrician,  co-masters of Adams House since 2000, are a Harvard family in multiple ways. Both attended the College (class of 1967), as did both of their sons (one of whom, John, is now Ess librarian and professor of law at Harvard Law School). Their views on contemporary Harvard undergraduates are reported in "The Twenty-First-Century Student," featured in Harvard Magazine's current 375th-anniversary issue.

Harvard College dean Evelynn M. Hammonds announced that Adams House resident dean Sharon Howell will serve as interim master, with Sean Palfrey remaining co-master; the Palfreys will continue to live in the master's residence at Adams House, and Judith Palfrey expects to return from Washington on weekends. 

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