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Shelley Hearne, PhD '79: Former managing director of the Pew Health Group of The Pew Charitable Trusts

Shelley Hearne, PhD '79: Former managing director of the Pew Health Group of The Pew Charitable Trusts

Shelley made quite an impact on the Stuart community as a member of Stuart's 1979 NJ State Championship basketball team, but she says that Stuart had an even greater impact on her. 

Shelley’s advocacy work began through her community service efforts as a Stuart student and she credits her professional work to the social values instilled at Stuart. She embodies the Sacred Heart call to “always act as persons of courage and integrity,” and uses this as her routine inspiration to continue her fight to make the world a better place.

After graduating from Stuart in 1979, completing her undergraduate work at Bowdoin College and her PhD from Columbia University’s School of Public Health, Shelley spent over three decades as a change maker bent on boosting the health, safety, and sustainability of our planet and the people on it.  She works with foundations, policy-makers, the private and non-profit sectors to tackle some of the thorniest health and environmental issues of the day: from finding solutions in urban health policy to reducing exposure to toxic chemicals in our everyday lives.

Shelley currently is a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She serves as the principal investigator for CityHealth ( and as a senior advisor to  the Big Cities Health Coalition, which is a forum for the leaders of the nation's largest metropolitan health departments. She is also the executive director of the Forsythia Foundation. 

Previously, she was the managing director of the Pew Health Group of The Pew Charitable Trusts, overseeing its food safety, medical safety, research, and biomedical programs.  She was also the founding Executive Director of the Trust for America’s Health, a national health advocacy organization dedicated to preventing epidemics, protecting people. Her past posts included  Executive Director of the Pew Environmental Health Commission, the Acting Director of the NJ DEP Office of Pollution Prevention, and a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She was the Chair of the American Public Health Association’s Executive Board and Vice President of the Council on Education for Public Health – the accreditation body for public health schools. She has authored many national health reports, from bioterrorism to obesity. Dr. Hearne has testified regularly before the U.S. Congress on bioterrorism, pandemic preparedness, health tracking and public health funding. She provides continual service to the public health field serving on National Academy of Science Committees (including the Oversight Committee, Division on Earth and Life Studies) and chairing accreditation site visits to public health schools, such as Harvard and Yale Universities.

Shelley is the recipient of numerous awards for her public health work, has published numerous works on public health topics and ethics, and trains tomorrow’s medical and public health leaders on their role in these issues.