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A Much Needed Summer Break

Posted on June 28, 2021
Student accepts diploma
L to R: Afrah Howlander, Ana Diez Roux, Puja Patel

By Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH

This past year has been a year that none of us expected to live through, a year of so many challenges including the pandemic and all that it made so visible about our society, a year of renewed recognition of the injustices of racism and inequality across our world. We all hope that everything that we have experienced will lead to real and persistent change.

At our School, faculty, staff and students came together to develop and launch our anti-racism action plan, a plan that involves the critical reflection that is fundamental to meaningful change, as well as the concrete steps and accountability necessary for change to become a reality. There is much work to do, and it is hard work and will take time, but we are committed to moving this critical work forward. Read a recent update on our progress.

This month, the month of June, is graduation month and we were fortunate to have two wonderful speakers, Dr. Kenneth Olden at our School graduation and Dr. Elijah Anderson, the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University, at the University ceremony. They both gave powerful addresses, if you missed them I encourage you to see them here and here. Our student speakers Puja Patel, MPH in health management and policy ’21, and Afrah Howlander, BS in public health ’21, were also absolutely terrific, see their comments here.

Last but not least, June also marks the beginning of the summer. And this year more than ever we all need a time to rest, recover and re-energize. A few years ago (seems like a lifetime ago!) I wrote a Dean's letter about the public health benefits of vacation. It is still true today. I hope you all have time to disconnect and spend time with family and friends this summer, we all need this after the long months of the pandemic. I wish you a wonderful summer full of reflection, peace, happiness, and renewed hope.