Jennifer Beard

Jennifer Beard, PhD, MPH, MA

Clinical Associate Professor, Global Health - Boston University School of Public Health


Jennifer Beard, PhD, MA, MPH, is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health at Boston University School of Public. Dr. Beard started her academic life in the humanities, completing her BA in English literature at Youngstown State University, her MA at Ohio University with a focus on Victorian literature, and her PhD at the University of New Hampshire specializing in twentieth-century British women writers. While she has been working in public health for two decades, she remains a devoted reader of novels and believes that her global health teaching and research interests are rooted in her passion for Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, and Barbara Pym.

Dr. Beard brings her love of language and compelling stories into all of her public health work. She developed and leads the BUSPH Public Health Writing Program and is the author of Teaching Public Health Writing (Oxford University Press, 2022). She co-founded the BU Program for Global Health Storytelling – a collaboration between BUSPH, the BU College of Communication, and the Pulitzer Center. She co-directs the BUMC Narrative Writing Program, which provides faculty researchers and clinicians with the opportunity and support to explore the power of narrative writing.

She is the associate editor of Public Health Post, where she mentors student writing fellows and expert guest authors to translate and broaden the reach of their research. Her approach to editing and mentoring focuses on engaging readers by shortening their sentences, clarifying key points with vivid details, and eliminating (or at least reducing) technical jargon. And she is partnering with colleagues at Mälardalen University in Sweden to cultivate a global public health writing community.

Her scholarship and teaching explore the intersection between population health, the arts and humanities, and journalism. She developed and teaches courses in global mental health and global health journalism and is always looking for ways to incorporate fiction and creative non-fiction into her courses.

Dr. Beard oversaw a 9-study qualitative research project in Kumasi, Ghana focused on key populations at high risk for HIV in collaboration with colleagues at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and at BUSPH. That work is still bearing fruit, particularly concerning harm reduction policies and programs for people who use drugs. The KNUST-BUSPH team also completed studies on young female sex workers and their intimate partners and men who have sex with men.


  • University of New Hampshire, PhD Field of Study: English Literature
  • Boston University, MPH Field of Study: International Health
  • Ohio University, MA Field of Study: English Literature
  • Youngstown State University, BA Field of Study: English Literature

Classes Taught

  • SPHGH765
  • SPHPH720


  • Published on 10/19/2023

    Beard Jennifer, Wang Monica L. Rebuilding Public Trust in Science. The Brink. 2023.

    Read At: Custom
  • Published on 10/10/2023

    Taborda C, Sofer N, Beard J, Wang M. Identifying and dismantling racist narratives to promote health equity. HPHR. 2023;72. . Identifying and dismantling racist narratives to promote health equity. 2023.

    Read At: Custom
  • Published on 7/21/2023

    Neupane R, Bhathena M, Das G, Long E, Beard J, Solomon H, Simon JL, Nisar YB, MacLeod WB, Hamer DH. Antibiotic resistance trends for common bacterial aetiologies of childhood diarrhoea in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review. J Glob Health. 2023 Jul 21; 13:04060. PMID: 37475599.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 7/13/2023

    Beard Jennifer. Families make us who we are. What remains after they’re gone?. Cognoscenti. 2023.

    Read At: Custom
  • Published on 4/3/2023

    Wang ML, Britton OJ, Beard J. The call for science communication and public scholarship. Transl Behav Med. 2023 Apr 03; 13(3):156-159. PMID: 36525596.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/30/2022

    Jennifer Beard. Teaching Public Health. Teaching Public Health Writing. Oxford University Press. New York, New York. 2022; 176.

    Read At: Custom
  • Published on 8/3/2022

    Hamer DH, Solomon H, Das G, Knabe T, Beard J, Simon J, Nisar YB, MacLeod WB. Importance of breastfeeding and complementary feeding for management and prevention of childhood diarrhoea in low- and middle-income countries. J Glob Health. 2022 Aug 03; 12:10011. PMID: 35916658.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/2/2022

    Tenzin K, Sabin LL, Wangchuk W, Choden K, Feeley F, Zam S, Halim N, Banigbe B, Letho Z, George ER, Yangden K, Beard J, West R, Dorji G. 2022. . 22: 7298. . Early impact of the PEN HEARTS package to manage noncommunicable diseases in Bhutan: a mixed-methods evaluation. Rural and Remote Health. 2022; 22(7298).

    Read At: Custom
  • Published on 7/11/2022

    Jennifer Beard. Over 30 years ago, she read billboard: ‘Pregnant? We can help.’ Then she took the wrong turn. Boston Globe. 2022.

    Read At: Custom
  • Published on 3/15/2022

    Remein CD, Childs E, Beard J, Demers LB, Benjamin EJ, Wingerter SL. "Getting Started": A Pilot Introductory Narrative Writing Session for Interprofessional Faculty in Academic Health Sciences. Adv Med Educ Pract. 2022; 13:265-274. PMID: 35313635.

    Read At: PubMed

News & In the Media