5 Questions for a Brunonian: Volunteer & Advocate Max Clermont ’11 MPH’12

Drawn to public service efforts, Clermont also continues to serve his alma mater as a champion and advocate for Brown’s volunteer efforts.

photo of Max Clermont outsideMost Brunonians don’t start volunteering for Brown until after leaving College Hill. But Max Clermont ’11 MPH’12 wasn’t about to wait until he became an alum to start giving back. 

He’s been an active Brown volunteer since he was a student on campus. He kept his connection to Brown even after graduation, serving on the President’s Communications Advisory Council and helping found the Brown Alumni Association’s First Generation & Low Income Alumni Advisory Committee. A recipient of the BAA’s Young Alumni Service Award, Clermont has become a champion for first-generation college students and is often at the center of Brown’s forward-looking initiatives.

His list of accomplishments outside of Brown is just as impressive. Clermont helped launch Data for Black Lives, served as chief of staff at the University of Chicago Medicine’s Trauma Center, and was national press advance lead for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. From College Hill to Chicago, his work has centered around promoting equity and closing representation gaps.

Why did you choose Brown?

I spent most of high school learning about the health care system and the social determinants of health. I was surprised to find out that Brown would be one of the best places to continue that work. Combined with the Open Curriculum, Third World Center (now the Brown Center for Students of Color), and the Swearer Center’s programming, Brown was the perfect choice.

“ Brown benefits tremendously from the engagement of young alumni. They help Brown stay savvy, progressive, and on the cutting edge. ”

Max Clermont ’11 MPH’12

What is your favorite part about volunteering for Brown?

I love demystifying the process for my friends who want to stay connected but haven’t figured how. I’ve done everything from interviewing to planning class reunions to serving on class gift committees. They’re slightly different roles, but all working towards the same mission: paying it forward with our time, talent, and treasure. It’s exciting to model the different volunteer opportunities that are often low-barrier and manageable time commitments for alumni.

Brown benefits tremendously from the engagement of young alumni. They help Brown stay savvy, progressive, and on the cutting edge. Volunteering is easy and Brown creates opportunities to do it virtually as well as where we live and work.

What professional achievement are you most proud of and why?

I helped set up a trauma center at the University of Chicago. I was able to tap into my political, community engagement, strategic planning, and public health skills all at once. It was an opportunity to bring together people and organizations across sectors to address intentional violence on the southside of Chicago—which is often viewed as intractable.

Who or what helped you get to where you are?

My Brown education and my mentors (both from Brown and post-Brown) have shown me the value of finding work that protects rights, promotes equity, and closes the representation gap across sectors and systems. The Open Curriculum, for example, pushed me to think more about mission and acquiring knowledge across departments and issue areas. Many of the challenges I am working to impact in the health justice space today have benefited from this approach.

What is happening at Brown that excites you?

As an alum of the public health program, I am most excited about Brown’s School of Public Health. Brown is a leading voice and trusted messenger on all things COVID-19 and has used the platform to advance a broad agenda about the important role that public health plays in how we live, work, and play. The Center for Digital Health and the Health Equity Scholars Program are two other standout initiatives.

Seeking lives of “usefulness and reputation”

The Brown alumni community is full of trailblazers, problem solvers, critical thinkers, entrepreneurs, and people who defy all boxes. And their stories may inspire others. Nominate an alum to be profiled in this “5 Questions for a Brunonian” series by emailing [email protected] today.