David Hemenway is Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has a B.A. (1966) and Ph.D.(1974) from Harvard University in economics. He is the director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center. He is also currently a James Marsh Visiting Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont. Dr. Hemenway has written over 130 articles and five books in the fields of economics and public health.
His most recent book, While We Were Sleeping: Success Stories in Injury and Violence Prevention (2009) describes more than sixty successes, and over thirty heroes who have made the world safer. Private Guns, Public Health (2006) describes the public health approach to reducing firearm violence, and summarizes scientific research on firearms and health. Prices and Choices (3rd edition) (1993) is a collection of twenty-six of his original essays applying microeconomic theory to everyday life.
Dr. Hemenway described in several articles a general reason why low-risk individuals often buy insurance, and coined the term “propitious selection.” Recent economic studies have focused on empirically determining which goods are more and less positional (e.g., bought largely to “keep up with the Joneses”). An early statistics article, Why Your Classes are Larger than Average, has been anthologized in various mathematical collections.
Dr. Hemenway has written widely on injury prevention, including articles on firearms, violence, suicide, child abuse, motor vehicle crashes, fires, falls and fractures. He headed the pilot for what became the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Violent Death Reporting System, which provides detailed and comparable information on suicide and homicide. He briefly appeared in clothing ads in The New Yorker and New York Magazine.
He has won ten teaching awards at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Hemenway lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife, Michelle Schaffer, an attorney, and their daughter Audrey. Dr. Hemenway appeared at a forum hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation and made the following statement in April 2013, "Instead of it being the mark of a real man that you can shoot somebody at 50 feet and kill them with a gun, the mark of a real man is that you would never do anything like that.