Kimberlyn Leary ’82 was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2016. She is an associate professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School and an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she directs the Enabling Change program. She is also the executive director of policy outreach at McLean Hospital and a faculty affiliate at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. As a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, she served as an adviser to President Obama's White House Council on Women and Girls, developing the Advancing Equity initiative focused on improving life outcomes for women and girls of color. She completed an extension of her fellowship at the White House Office of Management and Budget in the Health Division’s public health branch, where she served as the division lead on the Flint water crisis.
Leary began her career as a clinical practitioner focused on improving access to diverse communities. Her early work on “negotiated transactions” in psychotherapy expanded to broader research on negotiation and conflict management. Leary’s global work on conflict negotiations includes studying “critical moments” in mediations to end armed conflict in Southeast Asia and researching social enterprise ventures in the Middle East. She teaches courses on leadership and conflict transformation to doctoral public health students and to undergraduates at Harvard College, on advanced negotiation and mediation to senior executives at Harvard Law School and on physician-community engagement and the doctor-patient relationship at Harvard Medical School.
For almost 12 years, she served as chief psychologist at the Cambridge Health Alliance, directing the Division of Psychology and its training programs to deliver culturally sensitive care supporting the hospital’s primary care centers, specialty mental health and acute emergency services. This work included facilitating partnerships with community agencies, law enforcement and school systems, and assisting with the health system’s transformation into an accountable care organization.
At Amherst, she majored in psychology, graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Sigma Xi honor society. She lives in Cambridge, Mass., and is married to Richard Hale Shaw.