Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Are Hospital Pay-for-Performance Programs Failing?


The logic of pay-for-performance systems is simple enough: pay doctors and hospitals based on how well their patients are doing, rather than on the number of medical services they provide. The payment structure was designed to fix a central problem in American healthcare. The United States spends far more per person on healthcare than any other country, yet has the poorest health outcomes in the advanced world.

New Study Calls Subway Germs Mostly Harmless


Boston’s subway system is full of germs left behind by commuters on seats, poles, and touchscreens—but that may not be cause for concern, according to the results of a new study published this week in mSystems. The research was conducted by Curtis Huttenhower, associate professor of computational biology and bioinformatics, and his team at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (SPH).

Harvard’s Stake in the Fisher v. Texas Affirmative Action Case


Relieving fears at Harvard and elsewhere that it might strike down the use of race in admissions, the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s affirmative action program in the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Justice Anthony Kennedy, LL.B. ’61, who had never before voted to uphold an affirmative action policy, provided the swing vote in the 4-3 decision.

HMS Names Barbara McNeil Acting Dean


Barbara J. McNeil, Watts professor of health care policy and professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), has been appointed acting dean of the faculty of medicine beginning August 1, Harvard president Drew Faust and provost Alan Garber announced today. Current HMS dean Jeffrey S. Flier announced in November 2015 that he would step down this July 31; Faust and Garber said that the search for a new dean is progressing well.

Arts and Sciences’ Development Dean Departs


O’Neil A. S. Outar, who joined the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) as senior associate dean and director of development in September 2014, at the end of the first year of the public phase of its $2.5-billion capital campaign, is departing in early July.

How Antibiotics Disrupt Babies’ Microbiomes


Adding to recent research suggesting that the microbes in and on our bodies play a crucial role in human health—and that keeping the good bugs happy is as important as keeping the bad bugs out—Harvard scientists reported this week on how antibiotics affect infants’ gut microbiomes. The major findings are sobering, if not entirely unexpected: repeated exposure to antibiotics lowers the diversity and robustness of children’s gut microbes and leads to an uptick in antibiotic resistance genes.

Chinese Pottery: The First Five Millennia


Connoisseurs have long celebrated—and collectors craved—the beauty and technical brilliance of Chinese ceramics: the floral exuberance of Qing dynasty vases; Ming blue-and-white ware; mellow green celadons and subtly exquisite Northern Song Jun porcelains in unequaled blue and plum tones; tricolor Tang horses and camels (some nearly life-size).

Cryptic Puzzle: “Soccer Club”


SOLVE THE MOST recent creation of puzzlemaker John de Cuevas ’52.  


Bacteria That Fight Malaria


Harvard scientists have made a discovery that could lead the way to a new strategy for preventing malaria. Researchers led by Flaminia Catteruccia, associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H.

Televangelists on Tape


By sending his personal archive—300 boxes full of videotapes and correspondence—to Harvard’s library this summer, Bishop Carlton Pearson says he is “taking the old me and putting it in the mausoleum.” He hopes that once Harvard digitizes the collection, “People can see the remains online, all over the world.”