Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH is the Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and a Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also the Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at Harvard University and a Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dr. VanRooyen has worked extensively as an emergency physician in the field of humanitarian assistance in war and conflict settings around the world. He has worked in the field with numerous relief organizations in over thirty countries affected by war and disaster, including Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, North Korea, Darfur-Sudan, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has worked in the field as a relief expert with several non-governmental organizations, including CARE, International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee and Physicians for Human Rights. Dr. VanRooyen co-founded and directs the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), a university wide academic center at Harvard University that advances evidence-based humanitarian aid. He has been a policy advisor to several organizations, including the World Health Organization and UN OCHA, the IASC Health Cluster.
Domestically, Dr. VanRooyen leads all clinical, academic and educational efforts in the BWH Department of Emergency Medicine, including efforts to expand clinical and research efforts at Brigham Health. He also continues his work in disaster management. He worked with the American Red Cross to provide relief assistance at the site of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th, 2001. He also helped to coordinate the American Red Cross public health response to Hurricane Katrina and oversaw the development of a 400-bed surgical field hospital in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. He worked as a physician with the US Secret Service, NASA and with the US Public Health Service with the Navajo and Apache tribes in Arizona and New Mexico.
Dr. VanRooyen teaches HMS students, residents and fellows, and teaches courses at Harvard University and the Harvard School of Public Health on humanitarian operations in war and disaster. In 2012, he founded the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard, an educational program designed to advance humanitarian professionalism. He has authored the textbook “Emergent Field Medicine” and his most recent book, “The World’s Emergency Room” describes the evolution of modern humanitarian aid and the threats to healthcare workers in conflict.