News & Announcements


Eighth annual Sleep and Health Benefit Dinner provides support for the Division of Sleep Medicine's educational mission

September 9, 2009

The Division will hold its eighth annual Sleep and Health Benefit Dinner on October 8, 2009, at the the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA.

The Sleep and Health Benefit Dinner provides critical support for the educational mission of the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine. Funds raised through this annual event may be used to supplement funding for ongoing educational projects, or to seed new education-related projects.

Funds raised in previous years by the Sleep and Health Benefit Dinner have enabled the Division to participate in crafting and actively support Drowsy Driving legislation and education in Massachusetts over the past two years. This work has led to a 40% reduction in junior operator deaths since the legislation went into effect in March 2007. These funds are also currently enabling us to develop an exciting educational collaboration with the Boston Museum of Science, and to participate in a local community health fair. On a national level, the Division is working to develop critically important sleep health and safety educational programs with public agencies such as the US Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

At Harvard we have educated the student wellness coordinators in the Harvard Housing System on sleep and health so that they can communicate the importance of sleep to Harvard undergraduate students. Work is now complete on two new “cases” on sleep, and one of these Sleep Cases will be used to teach basic mechanisms responsible for sleep and essential principles of Sleep Medicine to every Second Year student at Harvard Medical School for the very first time beginning this fall.

Of course, our largest educational program is the Sleep and Health Education Program. In January we launched the second module, “Get Sleep”, which illustrates why we often don't get the sleep we need, and what we can do about it to improve health, work, and life. This and the “Healthy Sleep” module are online at

Funds raised by the 2009 Sleep and Health Benefit Dinner will enable the Division to continue its educational outreach and collaboration with local institutions and organizations like Harvard College, the Boston Museum of Science and community health organizations, as well as state and national regulatory agencies, legislators and government administrators. A few of the exciting projects on our horizon include plans to work with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) on sleep health and safety guidelines, organizing a scientific conference on biomarkers of sleepiness, and a broad effort to build collaborative relationships to study issues of the impact of sleepiness in high-risk occupations.

In all of our educational work, we strive to make a real, positive impact on people’s sleep and overall health and safety, and to create a model for community outreach and education for all academic sleep programs. Support for the Division’s educational agenda helps us to achieve these goals, and also extends the reach and deepens the impact of other ongoing investments in sleep health, sleep medicine, employee performance and public safety.

Related links:
Sleep and Health Benefit Dinner main page
Sleep and Health Benefit Dinner sponsorship information

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