Harvard Catalyst Profiles

Contact, publication, and social network information about Harvard faculty and fellows.

Brett Dee Nelson, M.D.

Profile Picture

Distinguished Alumni Award
Distinghuished Alumni Award

I am a pediatrician and public health professional (Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School; Assistant Pediatrician, Massachusetts General Hospital) whose interests are advocacy and health care provision for vulnerable populations, particularly children and individuals affected by conflict and crisis. My work in these disciplines has included clinical care, program development, advocacy, education, and needs-based research in many resource-limited settings.

My training includes MD and MPH degrees from Johns Hopkins, with MPH concentrations in humanitarian assistance and human rights, and an advanced diploma in tropical medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I completed my pediatric training in the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics (Harvard Medical School / Boston University School of Medicine). Following residency training, I helped develop the nation’s first Pediatric Global Health Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. In my capacity as the first fellow, I served as the Senior Pediatrician for the Liberian Ministry of Health and as the Interim Chair of Pediatrics and Newborn Medicine at Liberia’s sole teaching hospital. Working with my local Liberian colleagues, I led efforts in establishing pediatric and newborn care and training in a post-conflict country without pediatricians.

Since the early 1990s, I have also been involved in significant academic research and consultancy in over a dozen disrupted areas (e.g. central, eastern, and western Africa, the Balkans, Middle East, Haiti, etc.) while working for organizations such as the CDC, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Massachusetts General Hospital, International Rescue Committee, International Red Cross and Red Crescent, and Médecins Sans Frontières. This work has included pediatric clinical care, post-conflict health services development, HIV/AIDS surveillance in conflict-affected regions, as well as the establishment of clinical training programs stateside and in developing countries. I also led the development of innovative methodologies for the assessment of health services in resource-limited settings. This novel participatory approach integrates qualitative and quantitative methods and has now been successfully applied to many diverse settings. My academic accomplishments have been kindly recognized in several international conference presentations and in over a dozen peer-reviewed publications, including three first-authored articles in the leading journal, Pediatrics. I co-direct a popular global health and tropical medicine course at Harvard Medical School, “Clinical Topics in Global Health” (ME715.J). I am the editor of the textbook, 'Essential Clinical Global Health' (http://bit.ly/ECGHbn).

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work in pediatrics and global health. Given children’s inherent vulnerability, I strongly feel it’s imperative to give them greater voice and to work towards eliminating or mitigating the tragic impact of global conflict and crisis upon child health.

Available: 11/23/23, Expires: 12/31/26

We maintain an online database of global health fellowships (globalhealthfellowships.org), which seeks to provide clinical trainees with a free comprehensive list of these training opportunities. Global health fellowships have been growing significantly in number the last couple of decades, with fellowships now in nearly every medical specialty, including emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, women's health, psychiatry, etc. We would be delighted to work with a student in updating this database -- perhaps a student interested in global health and/or medical education. This would entail 1) assessing whether the programs listed in our database are still current and 2) trying to identify other programs that are not yet listed in the database. This would not be the most rigorous or demanding project but would be a flexible opportunity to work closely with global health faculty and to learn more about global health education while based in Boston. If we can be helpful, we're also happy to mentor students on any of their other global health-related projects.

Perceptions of Tanzanian Health Care Workers Towards the Use of Mobile Phone Clinical Protocols
International, 06/14/12 - 08/04/12

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
Newest   |   Oldest   |   Most Cited   |   Most Discussed   |   Timeline   |   Field Summary   |   Plain Text
PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
This operation might take several minutes to complete. Please do not close your browser.
Local representatives can answer questions about the Profiles website or help with editing a profile or issues with profile data. For assistance with this profile: HMS/HSDM faculty should contact contactcatalyst.harvard.edu. For faculty or fellow appointment updates and changes, please ask your appointing department to contact HMS. For fellow personal and demographic information, contact HMS Human Resources at human_resourceshms.harvard.edu. For faculty personal and demographic information, contact HMS Office for Faculty Affairs at facappthms.harvard.edu.
Nelson's Networks
Click the
buttons for more information and interactive visualizations!
Concepts (297)
Co-Authors (24)
Similar People (58)
Same Department 
Physical Neighbors
Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.