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Yale doctor a recipient of MacArthur ‘genius’ grant

Emily Wang, Primary Care Physician and Researcher, 2022 MacArthur Fellow, New Haven, CT
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Emily Wang, a primary care physician and researcher at the Yale University School of Medicine, is among the 2022 MacArthur fellows.

A Connecticut doctor and researcher is one of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grant” winners announced Wednesday. Emily Wang is a practicing physician and Yale professor who works to improve the health of people leaving prison, who are at higher risk for certain conditions.

"This includes heart disease, cancer, opioid use disorder with overdoses, gun violence," Wang said about her work on the MacArthur Fellows website. "Our center really drills down into trying to understand what are the root causes of this increased risk and then especially how do we identify solutions that will bridge those harms.”

In 2020, Wang became the inaugural director of the SEICHE Center for Health and Justice, a collaboration between Yale School of Medicine and Yale Law School. The center bridges the disparate domains of health, law and criminal justice to study how specific policies and interventions affect the well-being of individuals and communities impacted by mass incarceration, according to the MacArthur Foundation.

Wang works “closely with justice-involved populations to develop effective clinical services and to deepen understanding of the structural barriers to healthcare access,” according to a statement from the MacArthur Foundation.

In 2016, Wang spoke to NPR’s Morning Edition about how people newly released from correctional facilities are more likely to die.

This year’s 25 MacArthur fellows get a stipend of $800,000, paid out over five years. The foundation says it's a "no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential."

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person's originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society,” the foundation’s website reads.

Video: Learn more about Wang

Cassandra Basler is a radio reporter and editor at Connecticut Public. She has covered juvenile justice, the opioid crisis, immigration, social justice and inequity. You can find her reporting in New Haven and Fairfield counties. She previously worked at WSHU Public Radio and her work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Here & Now.
Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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