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Giang Nguyen Named Next Harvard University Health Services Director

Harvard University Health Services, which is based in the Smith Campus Center.
Harvard University Health Services, which is based in the Smith Campus Center. By Shera S. Avi-Yonah
By Michelle G. Kurilla, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: Sept. 6, 2019 at 1:35 a.m.

Giang T. Nguyen will be the next director of Harvard University Health Services, University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 and University Vice President Katie N. Lapp wrote in an email to students Thursday.

Nguyen will replace former director Paul J. Barreira, who was set to conclude his tenure at the end of June, but has remained as director over the course of the search. He will continue to remain in the post until Nguyen begins Nov. 18.

Nguyen previously served as the director of Student Health Services at the University of Pennsylvania. His work there focused heavily on providing services to meet the needs of a diverse student body, according to a press release.

“Throughout his career, Giang has been committed to advancing diversity, inclusion, and belonging in his communities,” Garber and Lapp wrote in their email. “He has also led and collaborated with organizations that focus on racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ populations, particularly transgender people.”

Nguyen’s tenure also marks an advancement in diversifying Harvard’s administration — he will be the first person of color to lead HUHS.

Garber and Lapp wrote that one of Nguyen’s first focuses will be working with the University Task Force on Managing Student Mental Health. The task force formed in April 2019 amid ongoing issues with long wait times and understaffing for mental health services on campus. Counseling and Mental Health Services, which employs 50 mental health professionals, is often overwhelmed by the number of students seeking their services.

Nguyen said he is grateful to join the “talented and dedicated” team at HUHS in a press release Thursday.

“I am thankful to all of my colleagues and students at Penn who have taught me so much over the past 16 years,” he said. “I am excited to bring these experiences to Cambridge and will work diligently to promote health and well-being across the Harvard University campus.”

Harvard launched its search for a new HUHS director in April after Barreira announced he would be stepping down after seven years in the position. He said in the press release that he believes Nguyen will be a “tremendous” asset to Harvard.

“I have had the pleasure to get to know Giang over the last three years and witness the creativity and compassion he brings to his work,” Barreira said. “His professional and personal experiences are ideally matched for Harvard.”

—Staff writer Michelle Kurilla can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla

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