President and Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health, Emory University (Festival Underwriter)
Claire Sterk is president of Emory University and the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health. A public health scholar, she has served for the past two decades as a social scientist, academic leader, and administrator at Emory. Prior to becoming president in 2016, Sterk served as the university’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. A globally renowned thought leader, her work has deepened understanding of social and health disparities; addiction and infectious diseases, specifically HIV/AIDS; community engagement; and the importance of mentoring and empowering women leaders. Sterk’s academic publications include three books and over 125 peer-reviewed articles. She lectures widely at universities around the world.
Claire Sterk, president of Emory University, says HIV researchers should put individuals and communities first when working to fight HIV. (This quote has been edited and condensed for clarity)
Claire Sterk: We have a lot of people who fall through the cracks. We talk about discrimination, racism, classism, and lack of access, and all of that’s the case. But when you really go into communities and talk to people who are at risk or are infected, it means nothing. It’s about the whole person, the whole community...We need to get smarter about the science of understanding people and meeting people where they are, otherwise we will continue to have a gap between what we could do and what we’re doing.”