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An Appreciation of 2018 with Best Wishes for a Promising New Year

Posted on December 18, 2018
Holiday wish with holly

The year 2018 has been a year of many challenges to public health. The adverse implications of climate change for our health and our planet are becoming more and more evident. Population health continues to be threatened by racism and discrimination on many fronts. Life expectancy in the United States continues its troubling decline driven in a major way by overdose deaths. Many in the U.S. are at risk of losing their recently won access to health care. Environmental regulation, so important to protecting health, is being rolled back. Inequities here in our own city and all over the world persist and impact health in major ways.

But in challenges lie opportunities. Many groups are coming together to recognize the urgent need to change the way we live in order to protect our own health and the health of the planet. Anti-racism movements are emerging and speaking out. The scientific community has come together to use evidence to advocate for continued environmental standards. Actions are emerging all over the country to stem the opioid epidemic. Legal and heath experts are fighting to retain and improve access to health care for everyone.

We in public health have much to contribute in terms of evidence, convening power, and advocacy to all these movements. And by engaging and having a voice in these movements we strengthen public health and promote health equity and health as a human right for all.

It is heartening to see our school at the forefront of addressing many of the public health challenges we face today through science, partnerships, and policy translation here in our own Philadelphia but also all over the world. In this newsletter you will see a few of the many many ways in which we have engaged with the world to improve population health over the past year.

May we return to the task in 2019 with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Happy holidays and a wonderful new year to everyone!

Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH
Dean and Distinguished Professor, Epidemiology, Dornsife School of Public Health