What I do

Willkommen. I am a German-American journalist, strategist and innovative storyteller with 25+ years of experience in international media and higher education. My work is positioned at the intersections of science, technology, health, migration, education, culture and trauma. I engage diverse communities on these subjects through storytelling, talks, events, consulting, and leadership.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020 I’ve been primarily focused on pandemic response research, policy and crisis communications, initially via my position as director of content and strategy at the Harvard Global Health Institute (until September 2020) and now as a professor of the practice and senior director of content, strategy and public affairs at the Brown University School of Public Health.

Working closely with Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown School of Public Health, and Danielle Allen, director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, and a network of researchers, political scientists, economists and other experts, our efforts have included a framework for COVID-19 Suppression, including our COVID-19 Risk Levels Map, key metrics and policy documents; policy briefs to provide guidance for K-12 schools during the pandemic; policy work to secure federal funding for testing, tracing and supported isolation; and working with media partners at NPR, ProPublica, the New York Times and other outlets, for example to put in context the nation’s failure to adequately test for the virus and bring the pandemic under control.

While I had created globalepidemics.org more than a year before COVID-19 as a community space for those working on pandemic preparedness around the globe, it quickly became a nimble and effective way for us to share key visualizations, methodology and reasoning to accompany our data and policy projects.  Other recent projects include the Preprint Sifter, a Twitter tool I developed together with Hong Qu and Daisy Winner as part of our ongoing work on combating misinformation, especially in this pandemic. And the Covid-19 Testing Communications Toolkit, a resource for cities and states hoping to educate about asymptomatic spread and why and when healthy people need to get tested. 

Prior to the pandemic, at the Harvard Global Health Institute, I was in charge of executing HGHI’s vision through the delivery of new programs and symposia, strategies, and initiatives to advance the Institute’s academic, research, and policy agenda. Leading an integrated team, I also oversaw the design and execution of innovative approaches to engage audiences in critical conversations about global health, and led the redesign of the HGHI website.

Throughout my career, I have worked as a foreign correspondent, feature writer, editor, photographer, newsroom leader and occasional hiking tour guide on three continents. My stories have been published in TIME, The Boston Globe, Geo, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and many other publications. A 2001 Nieman Foundation for Journalism Fellow, I am also a senior advisor to the Trust for Trauma Journalism and a board member at RiffReporter. On Twitter, you can find me @Stef_Friedhoff