What I do

Willkommen. I am an international journalist, scholar, strategist and innovator with 30+ years of experience in global media and higher education, and an Associate Professor of the Practice in Health Services, Policy and Practice at the Brown University School of Public Health. 

I am currently detailed to the White House Covid-19 Response team as senior policy advisor. I will continue to work on a few non-Covid matters at Brown University on a part time basis. 

At Brown, I study the relationships between peoples’ information needs, chaotic information environments and health outcomes. I am an expert at information creation and verification, and bring my training as a newsroom leader, storyteller, strategist and innovator to global health, crisis response, media ecosystems, and knowledge translation.

Prior to my current appointment on the White House Covid-19 Response team, my research and policy projects included pandemic problem solving and data initiatives, crisis communications research and guidance, and designing and evaluating interventions to resolve misinformation and build vaccine confidence in underserved communities.

Focusing on the intersections of research and practice, my portfolio has spanned a range of interacting public health challenges:

I served as a Design and Research Partner in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Equity-First Vaccination Initiative and led the secretariat for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Equity Advisory Council. I helped build the Justice, Health and Democracy Impact Initiative, the State and Territory Alliance for Testing at Brown, and Brown SPH’s Long Covid Initiative. My pandemic communications initiatives include  Global Epidemics, the Covid Testing Communications Toolkit, and the Preprint Sifter. I have led key media partnerships to translate Covid-19 evidence into practical information for decision-makers and the public. I have served as an expert advisor to the Pew Research Center, an expert contributor to the Covid Collaborative, a trustee to the Trust for Trauma Journalism, and was a founding board member at the journalism start-up RiffReporter. 

Prior to joining Brown, I was Director of Content and Strategy at the Harvard Global Health Institute and led Programs and Special Projects at The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. I founded Nieman’s Trauma Journalism Program and Global Health Reporting Fellowships, and teach trauma and resilience workshops for journalists. I created Nieman’s first online guide, coveringflu.org, initiated key conversations on issues such as Immigration, Covering Elections, and Covering Violence and Tragedy, and led explorations of the role of truth in a changing media ecosystem through projects such as “From Watergate to Wikileaks” (2010) and Truth in the Social Media Age (2012).

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. I was a 2001 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. On Twitter, you can find me @Stef_Friedhoff