Tag Archives: Max Essex

Elton John Receives HAI Award

Elton John, Deeda Blair, Maurice Tempelsman, Max Essex, and Julio Frenk at EJAF gala
Elton John, Deeda Blair, Maurice Tempelsman, Max Essex, and Julio Frenk at EJAF gala

Sir Elton John received HAI’s Leadership Award on October 15th. The award is presented to individuals who have exhibited extraordinary vision, leadership, and courage in the worldwide struggle against AIDS. Past recipients include tennis star Arthur Ashe, Diana, Princess of Wales, President Festus Mogae of Botswana, and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria. Continue reading

Excerpt from the Genome Generation

Elizabeth Finkel
Elizabeth Finkel


In her new book, The Genome Generation, journalist Elizabeth Finkel explores what we’ve learned in the ten years since the complete sequencing of the human genome. Her chapter on HIV/AIDS features Dr. Max Essex, Chair of HAI, and his work examining the genetics of the people of southern Africa, where the epidemic has hit hardest. Continue reading

Essex Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Robert Gallo presents the IHV Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Max Essex

The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine presented its Lifetime Achievement Award for Scientific Contributions to Dr. Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative (HAI), on November 1st. Essex received the award “for his work on animal and human retrovirus research and his leadership and great impact in the public health of Botswana.” Continue reading

Saturday Is for Funerals Slideshow

Max Essex and Unity Dow kicked off the American book tour of Saturday Is for Funerals in Boston at the Harvard Club on May 17th 2010. The book explores both the science and the personal stories behind the AIDS epidemic in southern Africa.

An Excerpt from Saturday Is for Funerals

Cover Saturday Is For Funerals

Chapter 2 from Saturday Is for Funerals

Divorces in Botswana are heard by the High Court; that is how seriously the country views marriage. By the time a marriage occurs, there will have been, at the very minimum, six family meetings, starting with those involving close family and progressing to those involving easily sixty or more extended family members. During the weeks, sometimes months, of family meetings and negotiations, small and big feasts are enjoyed, during which presents of bogadi cattle, firewood, and clothes are handed over to the bride’s family by the husband’s. By the time the couple says their Western-influenced “I do’s” before the marriage officer or Catholic priest or minister of religion, and an equally Western-style wedding party is held under white tents, all the customary aspects of the marriage process have been concluded. Parents, uncles, and aunts have given their advice, and the recurring message is simple: “Not two people but two families have just been joined in marriage, and nothing, not even death, is expected to end the relationship.” In fact, according to custom a deceased woman can remain married to a living man. So death does not, per se, end marriage under traditional law. Continue reading

Virologist and Novelist Collaborate

Unity Dow and Max Essex

They are an odd couple of co-authors. Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative and a world-renowned research scientist, teamed up with Unity Dow, author of four novels and the first woman to sit on Botswana’s High Court, to write Saturday Is for Funerals. The book, a hybrid of science about HIV/AIDS and the personal stories of African families affected by the epidemic, plays to the strengths of both authors. Continue reading

Viewpoints: Max Essex

Max Essex photo by dave Cliff

Dr. Max Essex is Chair of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative (HAI), the Lasker Professor of Health Sciences, and Chair of the Botswana-Harvard Partnership for HIV Research and Education (BHP). As the BHP celebrates its 10th anniversary, Martha Henry, Editor of Spotlight, asked Dr. Essex to reflect on past accomplishments and future goals of the BHP. Continue reading

Max Essex

Max Essex

Max Essex is the Mary Woodard Lasker Professor of Health Sciences at Harvard University, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative (HAI), and Chair of the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP).