Harvard Heroes

Harvard Athletics, perhaps more-so than anywhere else on campus, provides the training ground to develop the qualities and characteristics shared by many great leaders -- teamwork, resilience, and self-sacrifice.


We have heard many heartwarming stories of Harvard Varsity Club members battling COVID-19 on the front lines and in supplemental roles, and we wanted to share some of these selfless efforts with you.


We know there are more in our community making a difference in this unprecedented fight; please share additional examples by emailing Andrew Chesebro and we will update this page periodically.

Doctors and Nurses on the Frontlines

Dr. Joe Kross '79 (pictured below), a football letterwinner and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Creighton University Medical Center in Phoenix, says of he and his fellow Crimson alum fighting the COVID-19 pandemic "We are not heroes. This is our calling. We are just doing what we have been trained to do."

Former women’s basketball, cross-country, soccer, and track & field athlete,
Dr. Loretta Christensen ’80 (pictured below), is the Chief Medical Officer for the Navajo Area Indian Health Service. In a recent interview featured on NPR she describes working on the front lines in Gallup, New Mexico- one of hardest hit epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Julie Clifford Smail '90 (pictured below), Women's Lacrosse
Interal Medicine, North Shore Medical Center
Founder, Feed The Front Lines North Shore

From scoring the game winner in the 1990 women's lacrosse national championship game to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Jenny Walser Wilson '90 (pictured below) is the Medical Director of the Reno Emergency Physicians Association.

Dr. Tracy Hackeling '91, Women's Lacrosse

Track & field alumna Dr. Jamelle Bowers ’92 (pictured below), is a hospitalist at Mercy West in Cincinnati, OH and is the Regional Medical Director for Sound Physicians across multiple hospitals.

Women’s soccer alumna, Dr. Laura Grippa ’93, is now practicing Emergency Medicine at Baptist Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.

A three-time Ivy League champion, women's lacrosse alumna Dr. Joey Cosgriff ‘94 (pictured below), is the Medical Director of the ICU at Waterbury Hospital in Waterbury, CT. 

Dr. Nick DuBois ’95, Harvard sailing alumnus, is a Cardiologist on the frontlines at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC.

Friends of Harvard Hockey co-chair Dr. Holly Johnson '96 (pictured below) is taking care of her neighbors in New York City as the Hospital for Special Surgery has been re-purposed to treat patients with COVID-19.

Women’s volleyball alumna, Dr. Jennifer Jose Lo ’96, is the Boston Public Health Commission Medical Director.


When the playbooks called for a transformation of their operating rooms at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC into a COVID-19 ICU, both Harvard football alumnus, Dr. Mark Drakos ’98 (pictured below right), and Dr. Larry Gulotta (pictured below left), a former football player at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical School alumnus, reentered the game taking on new positions as ICU interns!

Dr. Jaime Chu '99 (pictured below)Harvard women’s soccer alumna, is the Associate Division Chief, Division of Pediatric Hepatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and a member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases COVID-19 Task Force.

Three of the five members of the 2002 women’s lacrosse class (pictured below) went on to become doctors who are now fighting on the front lines! Left to right: Dr. Heather Hussey Leder '02, Hilary Walton Lehman '02, Dr. Melissa Christino '02, Erin Kutner McCafferty '02, and Dr. Heather Gotha '02.

Women's hockey alumna Dr. Tracy Caitlin '03 (pictured below) is serving on the front lines as an attending emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She has said that "the most uplifting part of working through this crisis has been the tremendous amount of support we have received from the community."

Oli Choo ’03 (pictured below on the far right), a men’s tennis alumnus, is an anesthesiologist in New Jersey that has been enlisted to help in the COVID-19 ward at Princeton Hospital.

An All-American Harvard sailing alumna and a Francis J. Toland Community Service Award winner, Dr. Michelle Yu ’03, continues to serve the broader community. With a shortage of pulmonologists and overloaded medical system in NYC, Dr. Michell Yu, an ER Doctor in San Francisco, has been volunteering on the frontlines in NYC hospitals.

The chief resident in internal medicine at UCLA, women’s volleyball alumna, Dr. Sarah Cebron Snow ’07 (pictured below), organized UCLA Health’s #TeamLA: PPE4Life Fundraising initiative.

Dr. Oliva Gage Gamboa ’07, a women’s track & field and Radcliffe rowing alumna, is a hospitalist and palliative care doctor treating COVID-19 patients at Kaiser’s San Franciso hospital. She and her husband Stephen, an emergency physician, were recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle in an article titled "Bay Area doctors treating coronavirus patients rush to draw up wills, just in case: 'we have to be brave."

Men's lacrosse alumnus Dr. Evan O'Donnell '08, who works with several of Harvard's varsity programs as a team doctor, has been redeployed from orthopedic surgery in sports medicine at Mass General Hospital to help with COVID-19 testing and emergency procedures. 

From sprinting around the track, to now running the halls of Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan as an Emergency Medicine Physician, track and field alumna

Dr. Magda Robak '12 (pictured below) is caring for COVID-19 patients in NYC. 

Dr. Christine Wu ’12 (pictured below), Harvard women’s volleyball alumna and former coaching assistant, has found a new court at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where she continues to serve our community. A Resident Physician in Surgery, Christine became a member of the first team to start working in the COVID-19 ICU at Brigham and Women’s Hospital when it opened. She has also helped organize donations from residents in medicine/surgery/anesthesia to create multiple goodie baskets to demonstrate their thanks and appreciation for all the staff taking care of COVID patients including RNs, respiratory therapists, pharmacy, environmental services, etc.


They may be located on separate fields now, but former women’s lacrosse teammates are teaming up once again to battle COVID-19:

Dr. Delia Pais Kristol ’10 (pictured below), Resident Physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Jacobi and Montefiore Medical Centers in the Bronx.


Dr. Julia Nagle ’12 (pictured below), Resident Physician at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.


Dr. Micaela Cyr ’13 (pictured below), Resident Physician at New York University.


Men’s tennis alumnus, Dr. Tunc Kiymaz ’13 (pictured below), is a second year post-graduate fellow specializing in orthopedic surgery with a focus on sports medicine at Temple Hospital in Philadelphia. During the pandemic, he has been re-assigned to help with the growing COVID-19 cases. Tunc comments, “..it is incredible to see the determination that every provider brings to work every day around me. Very humbling to see the outpouring of support. The reusable masks that family, friends, and strangers are giving their time and effort to make. The teamwork that is always on display to give the best for our patients.”

Women's basketball alumna Dr. Kaitlyn Dinkins Kincaid ’15 (pictured below) is an OB/GYN resident working at University of Alabama Birmingham Women and Infants Center.

From capturing the Ivy League Championship title in 2019, Harvard baseball alumnus, Edwin Owolo ’19, is now wearing the hat of an Emergency Department Technician in the Stamford Hospital Emergency Department where he is helping save lives.


Clara Cousins '20 (pictured below), the women's Nordic skiing captain, is spending her "senior spring" treating COVID-19 patients at Boston Hope, a field hospital at the Boston Convention Center and Exposition Center. While continuing to take her classes remotely, Clara is a certified EMT and volunteered to work for Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. She shares that "overall shifts have been great, I’m learning a ton and my favorite part is getting to know all the people here- patients and staff. There’s really just such a high level of cooperation and support it’s inspiring."


Doing Their Part

Coming Up Clutch
Former women's basketball captain Suzie Miller '99 hit the game-winning shot to lift No. 16 Harvard over No. 1 Stanford in the 1998 NCAA Tournament, marking the first time a 16-seed had beaten a 1-seed on either the men's or women's side. She is still coming up clutch today as the chief medical officer for Ventec Life Systems, which makes a multi-function ventilator being deployed around the country to help patients fighting COVID-19. | LEARN MORE

Feed the Frontlines NYC
An initiative started by women's lacrosse alumna Kate Felsen Di Pietro '88, her husband Luca, and their children Isabella '20 and Ian, to provide meals to healthcare professionals and to keep restaurants operating in NYC. | LEARN MORE

Feed the Frontlines Boston
Inspired by Kate and Luca's efforts in NYC, teammate Char Joslin '90, along with women's hockey alumna and HVC President Johanna Boynton '88, helped bring the idea to Boston. | LEARN MORE

Feed the Frontlines Marin

Fellow alumna Cindi Ersek Frame '88 helped her daughter to establish Feed the Frontlines Marin in the Bay Area. | LEARN MORE


Feed the Frontlines Boulder

And Feed the Frontlines Boulder is the latest city to join the cause, thanks to the efforts of Susan Carls Churchill '91| LEARN MORE

Feed the Fight MD

Squash alumna Jay Brooks '14  and friends created Feed the Fight MD to help feed frontline workers and deliver groceries to those in need in the Washington  D.C. Metropolitan Area. | LEARN MORE.

Gilman Gear Goes the Distance
Harvard football alumnus Neil Gilman '77, President of Gilman Gear, announced on April 3 that the 91-year old manufacturer of football equipment would begin re-purposing its manufacturing machinery and technical expertise to produce surgical and isolation gowns for medical professionals on the frontlines.  | LEARN MORE

Boston Hospitals Accepting Ski Waxing Respirators As PPE
Harvard skiing alumnus Jacob Meyerson '19 is coordinating the donation of used ski waxing respirators to two Boston hospitals, Boston Medical Center and Cambridge Health Alliance.  Intended to keep skiers safe while waxing skis, these respirators can now help keep our frontline healthcare workers healthy as they battle COVID-19. | LEARN MORE

Ogbunamiri Ezike '94 Leads Illinois' Efforts Against COVID-19
Women's volleyball alumna Dr. Ngozi Ogbunamiri Ezike '94 is leading the coronavirus response in Illinois as the head of the state's Department of Public Health. | LEARN MORE


‘The Darkness Has Not Overcome It’ by Jeremy Lin '10
Men’s basketball alumnus Jeremy Lin ‘10 is donating $500,000 to Direct Relief and Feeding America and matching all donations up to an additional $500,000. He’ll also be highlighting organizations that are shining a light into the darkness at this time, as well as exploring more ways for us all to get more involved. | LEARN MORE


Harvard Alumni/ae Community Helps (HACH)

In early March, 3 alumni of the College, including Stein Rafto '78 (MD, HR78, a 4-year Harvard Varsity XC and T&F athlete) began an initiative, now known as Harvard Alumni/ae Community Helps (HACH), to help the Harvard community deal with COVID-19. The idea was simple: get reliable science-based information into everyone’s hands, and then provide confidential, empathic one-on-one consultation to assist individuals in working through how COVID-19 affects that person’s concerns and circumstances.

With the tremendous help of the HAA, this initiative, has already grown to cover 20 College Classes from '54 onward and current undergrads (about 40,000 people), and is expanding into the 11 graduate schools' students and alums.  Nearly 60 healthcare professionals are providing this assistance, mostly to fellow Classmates, thus benefiting from each Class’ inherent circle of trust.


You can participate if your Class has already joined the initiative, or if you would like help to expand the initiative to your Class including providing healthcare consultation to it, contact your Class Officers AND please email HarvardHelps1636@gmail.com, to let them know your Harvard affiliation, how you heard of HACH, and how they can assist you.


-- Your Team for Life --