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Politics

Greek-American Harvard Scientist to Run for Congress

BOSTON – Greek-American scientist Natalia Linos, Executive Director of the Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, is running for Congress with the Democratic Party in Massachusetts’s 4th District. 

The heart of the district is Brookline, MA but it also includes the cities of Newton, Wellesley, Needham, and others. Dr. Linos decided late in the game to join the race, and needs to collect one thousand signatures from voters in the 4th district by Tuesday, May 5, in order to get on the ballot, an effort which could be helped by other Greek-Americans living in this area.

Natalia Linos was born in Cleveland Ohio in 1982. She graduated from the high school ACS Athens and went on to pursue her undergraduate degree at Harvard College with a degree in Social Anthropology. She later returned to the Harvard School of Public Health for her postgraduate studies, earning two more degrees, Master in Science and Doctor of Science in Social Epidemiology.

She worked for many years at the United Nations (UN), but also as a policy advisor to the New York Health Commissioner, where she led on the development of many initiatives to address poverty, discrimination, and health. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband Paul and their three children, Amalia, Leonidas, and Alexandra.

In an interview with The National Herald she was asked, given the other candidates fighting for the 4th district, why she decided to enter the fray. She said “With COVID-19 unfolding so tragically, I became frustrated that we don’t have a stronger voice for science in government. As a public health expert, a long-time public servant, and a mother of three children, it felt it was urgent. I think about my friends at the frontlines working tirelessly at hospitals and clinics with limited protection. I’m also nervous about our children and the equity of remote learning, and I am deeply concerned about the impact on our local restaurants, small shops, and daycares. Of course, I worry most about our neighbors who were struggling before this happened and who have now lost friends and family in recent weeks, and those who have recently found themselves without income or health insurance and need much more support from the government to get through this.”

She emphasized that “we can’t wait any longer. We need people who understand our communities, but can also contribute to the solutions. Put simply, our health – and I truly mean our physical, mental, economic, and planetary health – can’t wait.”

She was asked what issues she would prioritize if she is elected to Congress and she replied, “well first of all, I need to get on the ballot. I’m not a career politician, so I need more than 1000 people from District 4 to go nataliaforcongress.com and sign the petition to allow me to be on the ballot. That doesn’t mean they endorse me. It just means they want a voice in the primaries of a public health expert.  But if I do have the honor of being elected to Congress, my priorities will be health. Health is not just the absence of a disease. Healthy communities are about equity, shared economic prosperity, and environmental justice. Health is making sure our small businesses and our families have the tools they need to survive. What is apparent today is that this crisis will not solve itself in the next few months. The direct and indirect impacts on people's health, their livelihoods, the economy, will be felt for years. So we need more science-backed leadership in government, to be able to make decisions that represent all of us.”

Her message to the Greek-American Community is “stay strong. To the parents, thank you for taking on the roles of mother, father, teacher, and friend for your children. To those who have lost your jobs or are worried about your loved ones, know that your community is here for you and to help you through. None of us have ever experienced this kind of crisis before, but the Greek-American community has always been strong. And we take care of each other. I know I’ve felt so much love and support from this community as I start this journey. So thank you.”

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