Global champion for human rights Joia Mukherjee, the chief medical officer for Partners In Health (PIH), will deliver the keynote speech during Mount Holyoke College’s 179th Commencement ceremony, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 15, in the Gettell Amphitheater.
In her role with PIH, Mukherjee is dedicated to providing access to health care to the poorest, most vulnerable communities in the world. In addition to her public health advocacy through PIH, Mukherjee also consults for the World Health Organization on the treatment of HIV and MDR-TB in developing countries. As a social justice advocate, she argues that everyone must work to manifest positive change.
Mukherjee’s scholarly work focuses on the human rights aspect of HIV treatment and on health interventions in poor and vulnerable settings. In addition to her work with PIH, she is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Global Health Equity, Department of Medicine, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is an associate professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Mukherjee trained in infectious disease, internal medicine, and pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital and has a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. In 1992, Mukherjee graduated from medical school at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She completed her undergraduate degree in 1985 in chemistry, cellular and molecular biology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Mukherjee has been recognized widely for her work in the fields of academia, global health care, and community service. In 2006, she was honored by Heifer International as a Hero of Humanity for her outstanding service. She holds honorary degrees from the University of Rhode Island and Ripon College. She received the Marshall Wolf Award in Medical Education from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Global Health Equity, and the Drapkin Award for Humanism in Medicine from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Also at Commencement, the College will confer honorary degrees on accomplished individuals who exemplify the values of Mount Holyoke This year will include; World-renowned artist Joan Jonas ’58, whose work encompasses a wide range of mediums including video, performance, sound, text, and sculpture, will receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts. After graduating from Mount Holyoke with a bachelor of arts degree in art history, Jonas received her master of fine arts degree in sculpture from Columbia University in 1965.
Jonas went on to become a central figure in the performance art movement of the mid-1960s and was a pioneer in the use of video in performance art pieces in the 1970s. Her experiments and productions in the late 1960s and early 1970s were crucial to the development of many contemporary art genres, from performance and video to conceptual art and theater. Jonas has exhibited, screened, and performed her work at museums, galleries, and large-scale group exhibitions throughout the world.