Julie Levison, MD, MPhil, MPH
MD, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
MPH, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
MPhil in Economic and Social History, Oxford University, Oxford, England
B.A. in History, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
My current research centers on addressing barriers to retention in HIV care for HIV-infected Hispanic immigrants using quantitative, large database analysis, and qualitative methods. This work is funded by a Harvard Catalyst Medical Investigator Training Award and a Harvard Center for AIDS Research Scholar Award. My multi-disciplinary training and work in this research area serves two long-term goals: 1) to improve clinical outcomes for HIV-infected Hispanic immigrants, a rapidly growing segment of the US population and 2) to inform models of health care utilization that are culturally-tailored to reflect the specific needs of immigrants.
Dr. Levison is a board certified physician in internal medicine and infectious disease, and is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a senior fellow in the Program for Epidemiology and Outcomes Research, Cost-Effectiveness for Preventing AIDS Complications (CEPAC) team, and Medical Practice Evaluation Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Levison’s longstanding career focus has been the intersection of public health, clinical care, and human rights. Dr. Levison graduated with a BA in History with thesis honors from Wellesley College (Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude). As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, her master’s thesis, “A History of Leprosy in Puerto Rico (1898-1930s): Beyond Quarantine,” received a commendation from the Faculty of Modern History. While a student at Harvard Medical School, she obtained global epidemiology training through an internship at the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease Unit, where Dr. Levison updated key epidemiological indicators on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for the World Health Report. Through this experience, she came to appreciate the high disability related to sequelae of STIs, especially in resource-limited settings, and the need for accurate indicators of global health that rely on standardized local measures. During internal medicine residency, Dr. Levison gained expertise in immigrant health particularly in the care of asylum seekers and torture survivors. Along with colleagues from the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights at Boston Medical Center, Dr. Levison reviewed medical records of Guantánamo Bay detainees, and presented data on physician involvement in torture at the national meetings of the American Public Health Association and as a poster presentation at the Society of General Internal Medicine. Mentoring students to advocate for the protection and promotion of human rights is an important longitudinal commitment of Dr. Levison. The Martin P. Solomon Medical Education Scholars Award from the BWH supported Dr. Levison’s efforts to develop a residency curriculum on caring for survivors of torture. She has also received awards for clinical work and teaching, including the Arnold Gold Foundation Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. Among HIV-infected Latinos, immigrants represent 40% of new HIV cases, an important public health disparity that reflects a confluence of ill-defined risks and barriers to health care. As a practicing physician caring for immigrants and as someone who grew up in a family with a strong immigrant background, Dr. Levison recognized the need to improve disparities in HIV outcomes experienced by immigrants in the US. Dr. Levison has applied methodologies used in her post-doctoral research training in HIV outcomes research in South Africa to examine engagement in HIV care among HIV-infected Hispanic immigrants in the US using quantitative and qualitative approaches that rely on community engagement. She is a recipient of the MGH David Brudnoy HIV Award in 2008 and 2010, the Harvard Center for AIDS Research Scholar Award, and the Harvard Catalyst Medical Investigator Training Award. Dr. Levison intends to use her clinical and research training to develop an academic niche aimed at improving delivery of HIV care for Latinos.