Kimberlyn Leary ’82 was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2016. She is the Senior Vice President at the Urban Institute. She is also 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, and Lecturer in Public Health. 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 also served as an advisor to the White House Office of Management and Budget in the Health Division’s public health branch and a senior polcy advisor to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
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 degree-program courses on leadership and conflict transformation at the Harvard Kennedy School and teaches in executive education programs for senior executives and public practitioners through several Harvard schools, including Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, where she is also a co-faculty director of curriculum and research.
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.
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.