Vanessa Kerry

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Vanessa Kerry
Vanessa Bradford Kerry.jpg
Vanessa Kerry, May 28, 2009
Born Vanessa Bradford Kerry
(1976-12-31) December 31, 1976 (age 38)
Boston, Massachusetts
Education B.Sc. (summa cum laude honors), M.Sc., M.D. (cum laude honors)
Alma mater
Occupation Chief Executive Officer at Seed Global Health, Staff at Massachusetts General Hospital, Affiliated Faculty at Harvard Medical School
Spouse(s) Brian Vala Nahed (m. 2009–present)
Parent(s) John Forbes Kerry
Julia Stimson Thorne

Vanessa Bradford Kerry (born December 31, 1976) is an American physician and health care administrator. She is a founder of the non-profit Seed Global Health. Her father is John Kerry.

Early life and family[edit]

Kerry was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She is the younger daughter of politician John Forbes Kerry (born 1943) and writer Julia Stimson Thorne (1944–2006). Her sister Alexandra (born 1973) is a film director and producer.[1] After her parents divorced, she moved with her mother to Bozeman, Montana. She attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts for high school.

On October 10, 2009 in Boston, Kerry married Massachusetts General Hospital neurosurgeon Brian Vala Nahed. Nahed conducts research in brain cancer and is a brain tumor and spine surgeon.[2] In April 2012, she gave birth to their son Alexander.[3]

Education and career[edit]

Kerry graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover and summa cum laude from Yale University with a major in biology. While a student at Yale, she played for the varsity lacrosse team. After graduating with her bachelor's degree, she went to the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she received a master’s of science in health policy, planning and financing. While in London, she was a Fulbright Scholar.[2] Afterwards, she attended the Harvard Medical School from where she graduated with Honors. There, she interned with the Vaccine Fund of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she conducted a study on immunization in Ghana. She later studied and advised on government relations for health and development in Rwanda. She completed her internal medicine residency and critical care fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She is now a physician in critical care.

She has continued work in international health and has collaborated on projects in Haiti and Rwanda through the Harvard Medical School Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. She is also actively working on public sector partnerships in Uganda through Massachusetts General Hospital. Currently she and the Seed work along with the WHO and the United Nations in Tanzania.[4]

Seed Global Health[edit]

Kerry has been active in global health for over a decade. In 2011, she started the non-profit Seed Global Health (formerly called Global Health Service Corps) which has partnered with the Peace Corps to develop the Global Health Service Partnership.[5] The Partnership sends health professionals abroad to work as medical and nursing educators and to help build capacity. The medical and nursing educators serve as force multipliers to create new generations of skilled professionals who can help strengthen health systems. Seed Global Health also provides loan repayment and other stipends to help support the program's mission. In 2010 she wrote an op-ed on this idea for The New York Times.[6] The program also partners with academic medical centers such as the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health and as of September 27, 2012 serves to such countries as Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda.[7]

Political activity[edit]

Kerry took a leave from her medical studies in order to campaign for her father's presidential bid in 2004, even introducing him at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. She campaigned by herself and with her sister, mostly focusing on campaign stops at university campuses. She made speeches in support of her father and focused on health care issues and tuition costs for students, two Democratic campaign issues she felt personally attached to.[8] She also appeared on the MTV Music Video Awards show in Miami where she joined George W. Bush's daughters Barbara and Jenna to encourage voting. Through her work with her father and her public health policy education, she has not ruled out running for political office in the future.[9] On September 19, 2013 she spoke at the San Diego State University about health care.[10]

She is a former member of the Board of Directors of Young Democrats of America. She is a term member to the Council on Foreign Relations.


  1. ^ Suzanne Goldenberg (February 4, 2004). "Wild wife adventures". The Guardian. Archived from the original on August 27, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Vincent M. Mallozzi (October 9, 2009). "Vanessa Kerry, Brian Nahed". The New York Times (Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.). 
  3. ^ "Sen. John Kerry Now A Grandfather". WBZ-TV. April 9, 2012. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ Emma Green (October 21, 2013). "Vanessa Kerry: Family Planning in Africa Is 'Very Fraught'". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ Michaeleen Doucleff (September 26, 2012). "A Peace Corps For Doctors, Built By A Senator's Daughter". Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  6. ^ Kerry, Vanessa Bradford (February 13, 2010). "And One for Doctors, Too". The New York Times (Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.). Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ Alexandra Sifferlin (September 27, 2012). "‘Peace Corps for Doctors’: Solving Shortages of Medical Workers Abroad". Time. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ McDonald, Riley (September 3, 2004). "Vanessa Kerry makes U.Va. campaign stop". The Cavalier Daily News. Archived from the original on February 21, 2005. Retrieved May 13, 2007. 
  9. ^ Ms. Magazine editors (Fall 2004). "Daughterhood Is Powerful: An Interview with Vanessa Kerry". Ms. Archived from the original on June 22, 2007. Retrieved May 13, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Dr. Vanessa Kerry talks health care in San Diego". KFMB-TV. September 19, 2013. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]