We have to stop the politicization of public health

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

September 14, 2020

President Trump‘s admission that he sought to “play down” the threat of COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic raises unsettling concerns as to whether the administration values its political success over the health and welfare of the nation. 

The biggest question now as scientists work around the clock to develop a safe and efficacious vaccine: will facts and sound science be allowed to guide the research and testing process? Or will the administration pressure the drug industry and scientific community to accelerate this work, and potentially risk public health, to score political points before election day?

We’re not ready to return to in-class learning

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

August 15, 2020

The Senate’s inability to pass the next COVID-19 relief bill is a not-so-subtle reminder that Washington’s political dysfunction is alive and well. Whether the final bill will include, as the House version did, resources for public education to ensure young Americans can learn in a safe, responsible, fair, and equitable way is unknown. What is clear is that we, as a nation, seem unwilling to accept a difficult fact: America is nowhere near ready for a return to in-class education.

There’s been a lack of leadership surrounding COVID

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

July 30, 2020

In times of crisis, we look to administration officials to lead. … In the case of COVID-19, these officials are entrusted to provide accurate, reliable information we can use to help us stay safe.

We expect them to be transparent and straightforward in their communications, to lead by example, work constructively with our nation’s top scientific minds to address the problem, and design a national plan to try and defeat it. 

None of this is happening.

Trump’s failed COVID response: Managing a pandemic isn’t a states’ rights issue

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

July 7, 2020

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that the 50 state approach toward solving the pandemic isn’t working.

Racism’s Plague on Public Health

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

June 22, 2020

COVID-19’s devastating impact on the Black community has been widely known since the very early stages of the pandemic. Yet in a spectacular display of federal foot-dragging, the Department of Health and Human Services waited until June 4th to require the collection of anonymized data regarding the race and ethnicity of those who test positive for coronavirus (which won’t start until Aug. 1). … Why did it take so long for federal agencies to act? Why weren’t minority groups disproportionately affected given priority access to testing and treatment?

We need to trust each other to beat COVID-19

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

June 1, 2020

We need to trust now more than ever before. That’s a difficult task considering that a majority of Americans today distrust the government when it comes to protecting their health. Countries like South Korea and Sweden have demonstrated that controlling the spread of coronavirus is easier when citizens respect their governments. The fact the U.S. has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world is a sign that we don’t trust our government and we are not following simple guidance from public health experts. 

Quarantined child sexual abuse survivors need help

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

April 11, 2020

As we adjust to an indefinite period of indoor living due to the COVID-19 crisis, the inconvenience of being unable to do the simple things we once took for granted is already being felt.

For children forced to shelter in place with their sexual abusers, it is a daily nightmare. 

We’re failing America’s opioid epidemic

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

December 22, 2019

Why haven’t we taken any meaningful steps to solve the opioid crisis, one of the greatest public health threats of our time?

Millions of people abuse opioids each year. Their victims cross every socio-economic category. Hundreds of thousands have died. Their impact has been felt for years, yet we have no national collective plan to respond.

To begin to address it, we need a strategic national dialogue, a more effective legal strategy, a willingness by a dysfunctional Congress to come together, and a long-term commitment to do the right thing.

The Surgeon General’s deafening silence on gun violence

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

September 26, 2019

Last week the head of the Association of American Medical Colleges called gun violence a “public health crisis” in America. To address it, Dr. David J. Skorton wrote, “[t]hose of us in the health care field have a central role to play.” His voice adds to the increasing chorus of leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Surgeons, demanding action on the issue.

Yet there is one high-profile figure conspicuously absent from this growing symphony of doctors calling for change: The Surgeon General of the United States. 

Congress Can’t Even Study Gun Violence Unless It Changes The Law

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

September 7, 2019

Earlier this year, the House Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill allocating $50 million to study the impact of gun violence in America. It had nothing to do with expanding background checks, eliminating bump stocks, increasing waiting periods, or revisiting the ban on assault weapons. It was simply intended to give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) each $25 million to study the issue and identify ways to prevent gun deaths in America. 

One would think even in today’s deeply divided political environment that Democrats and Republications would agree on funding government research to understand why gun violence is on the rise in America. But the funding set aside in the House bill to conduct it has little chance of gaining any support in the Senate, due a little-known law called the “Dickey Amendment.”

Children at southern border are facing a public health crisis

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

June 17, 2019

The public health crisis facing migrant children at the southern U.S. border is at a boiling point. Detained kids are sleeping on concrete benches because the government is running out of room, and out of money. Thousands have been sexually abused. And six have died in U.S. custody over the past eight months alone.

What parents can learn from the Boy Scouts sexual abuse crisis

An excerpt from my recent op-ed in The Seattle Times:

“The recent legal settlement resolving decades-old child sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America by a Snohomish County man brings to light an important issue that too often is ignored or swept aside. It should be a clarion call to parents in Seattle and around the country, especially now as they start their search to identify summer camps for their kids: Ask the right questions of prospective youth serving organizations ahead of time to protect your child’s safety.”

Dr. Lyndon Haviland to receive Dean’s Champion of Public Health Award from CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy

Nielsen resignation doesn’t change fact that sexual abuse at the border is a real emergency

An excerpt from my recent op-ed in the USA Today:

The abrupt resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reignited the debate over President Donald Trump’s border policies and his pledge to build a wall. But what continues to be lost in the national conversation on illegal immigration is the crisis involving the abuse of children while in U.S. “care” at the Mexico boundary.

Migrant Health Doctoral Fellowship Established by Lyndon Haviland at CUNY SPH

Dr. Haviland recently awarded the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) “its first named and endowed doctoral fellowship.”  The Lyndon Haviland Fellowship “will provide one incoming doctoral student the opportunity to develop theoretical knowledge and practical skills in addressing migrant health issues through public health policies and strategies, while learning from and collaborating with Dr. Haviland, an internationally recognized global public health expert and a passionate advocate for refugees, immigrants, and young people. … ” See link below for the full text of the CUNY SPH announcement. 

Our health depends on the passage of an achievable Green New Deal

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland


The Green New Deal is all the rage in Congress, capturing our imaginations about new jobs, new industries and a cleaner energy future for the nation.

But the only way any deal will get done is if lawmakers don’t lose sight of the serious human health consequences of inaction. They must work together, show leadership and pass a realistic plan that may not please everyone, but will put our nation on a constructive path toward addressing the increasing health threat posed by climate change.

Ending sex trafficking tomorrow requires preventing child abuse today

Below is an excerpt from my op-ed that appeared today in

“Congress and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), in particular, want to make it easier to go after human traffickers who engage in illegal activities online using the ‘ruthless efficiency of the internet.’ Sen. Portman is rightfully addressing the current crisis of online sex trafficking, and that’s an important move in the right direction. But until we address the root cause, the legislation signed into law Wednesday is simply a small step in protecting women and children. … To cauterize it, we must establish a culture of prevention to disrupt the cycle of abuse and exploitation. And it’s our responsibility to do it.”

To read the entire piece, please click the link below:

Darkness to Light Board Member Lyndon Haviland on the Organization’s Recommitment to Their Roots in Charleston

Darkness to Light, now in its 17th year, is dedicated to ending childhood sexual abuse. Lyndon Haviland, former interim CEO and the new CEO, Katelyn Brewer sat down with the Charleston Post & Courier to discuss their mission. Read excerpts from the interview here:

Lyndon Named a Forest Trends Fellow & Travels to the Peruvian Amazon

On behalf of Forest Trends ( ), Lyndon recently joined a group of conservationists, chefs, journalists, public health experts, and entrepreneurs on a trip to the Peruvian Amazon.

The purpose of the trip was to explore how sustainable gastronomy could contribute to conserving the cultural and natural diversity of the area. As the leading public health expert on the trip, Lyndon advocated for innovative solutions to meeting the nutritional needs of Amazonian residents in a region where food scarcity and malnutrition abound.

Read more about the trip and see pictures in National Geographic Online:

Lyndon Speaks Out for Victims of Sex Abuse

As the interim (now full-time) CEO of Darkness to Light, Lyndon provides insight into the relationship between the increase in the number of child sex abuse cases being reported in a local community and the decrease in the amount of abuse occurring nationally.

Watch the news clip to see Lyndon clarify why communities can be encouraged when reporting increases

The related Fox News story can be read here

Read the latest D2L blog written by Lyndon here

Lyndon Featured in Magazine

Lyndon was recently featured in an article on about her expertise in social entrepreneurship.

Check out the article below to learn Lyndon’s take on how social entrepreneurs differ from typical entrepreneurs:

Lyndon Writes Feature Articles about Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

An article written by Lyndon about building a movement to prevent abuse in Texas is featured in the March 2016 issue of Youth Today.

An article co-written by Lyndon and Anne H. Littlefield about preventing student sexual abuse is featured in the February 2016 issue of the American School Board Journal.

You can read the full article covering prevention, intervention, training, and support here:

Reprinted with permission from American School Board Journal, February 2016. Copyright 2016 National School Boards Association. All rights reserved.