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Professor Michael Robin Reich is Decorated by Japanese Government

April 29, 2015

On April 29 in Japan, the Japanese Government announced its Spring Honors List. Harvard University Professor Michael Robin Reich is awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of Japan’s policy for global public health as well as for advancing public health in Japan.

Professor Reich is Taro Takemi Professor of International Health Policy at the Department of Global Health and Population of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and an eminent scholar on public health policy. Professor Reich’s research program addresses the political dimensions of public health policy, and he has worked on health policy issues in Japan for over four decades. His interests include health system strengthening and reform, access to medicines and pharmaceutical policy, and the political economy of policy-making processes.

He obtained his Ph.D. in political science at Yale University in 1981 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and master’s degree in East Asian Studies, with a focus on Japanese Studies, both also at Yale.

He helped establish the Takemi Program in International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1983 and has contributed to its significant achievements over more than 30 years as a Harvard faculty member. Since 1983, this program has hosted 251 mid-career Takemi Fellows from 53 countries around the world, including 55 from Japan. Many Takemi Fellows have achieved leadership positions in their own countries, in government, universities, and the private sector. Through this program and his own research activities, he has contributed to improving people’s health all over the world.

Professor Reich has also provided remarkable support to Japan’s contributions to international public health issues. Dr. Reich worked on health systems issues with prominent policy leadership in Japan to propose policy initiatives to the Japanese government for the Toyako G8 Summit held in Japan in 2008; he contributed to the landmark special issue on the Japanese health system by the international medical journal Lancet in September 2011; and he has collaborated with Japanese researchers and the World Bank to promote policies for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) based on the Japanese experience.

In addition, a number of Dr. Reich’s books have been translated and published in Japan.

In light of these outstanding contributions, the Japanese government has deemed it appropriate to bestow this high award on Professor Reich.