Lisa H. Harris, M.D., Ph.D., is one of five University of Michigan faculty named a 2023 Thurnau Professor.

Thurnau Professorships recognize and reward faculty for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. The program is designed to honor those tenured faculty whose commitment to and investment in undergraduate teaching has had a demonstrable impact on the intellectual development and lives of their students.

“I am very honored and extremely grateful that I've had the freedom — as a medical school faculty member — to teach undergraduates,” said Harris. “My commitment to undergraduate education comes from, among other things, my commitment to helping foster a diverse cohort of future physicians, and from wanting to inspire pre-health students to become change agents in medicine.”

Harris is the F. Wallace and Janet Jeffries Professor in Reproductive Health in the U-M Medical School’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In addition, Harris led U-M’s Complex Family Planning Fellowship, as well as the Ryan Residency Training Program in Family Planning.

In U-M’s undergraduate college, Harris directs the Health Sciences Scholars Program and is a professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, where she has taught for 20 years. 

“I love meeting individuals as undergraduate students and being able to follow along on their educational and professional journeys,” said Harris. “I often have longitudinal mentoring relationships with students that persist well beyond the traditional years of college mentorship. Many former students go on to pursue careers in health care and public health, and some are now my colleagues, doing remarkable things. It’s gratifying to think that perhaps I offered tools and critical lenses that helped shape their paths or supported their efforts to shift medicine for the better.”

A handful of tenured faculty members from the Ann Arbor campus are designated annually as Thurnau Professors and hold this title for the remainder of their careers at U-M. They receive a $20,000 grant to support activities that will enhance their roles as educators through funding initiatives that support their students.