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2020 Welcome Week at Dornsife

Dr. Diez Roux and Dr. Raynard address students via Zoom at the 2020 Pinning Ceremony
Dean Diez Roux and Dr. Washington address new Dornsife students, faculty, and staff of Dornsife via Zoom.

September 17, 2020

At the beginning of each academic year, the Dornsife School of Public Health gathers to formally welcome new students, staff, and faculty at the Pinning Ceremony. These new members of our community receive Dornsife’s “health as a human right” pin and recite the preamble of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. This long-standing tradition was first instituted at the School nearly 24 years ago by the founding Dean and humanitarian, Dr. Jonathan Mann.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was moved to a virtual format for the first time. Despite not being able to gather in-person, the event was still widely attended by faculty, staff, and students.

The program began with Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, dean and distinguished university professor of epidemiology, addressing the new members of our community. “Especially now, it is a great time to join the field of public health because there is so much to do and influence," she said. "We need public health professionals to expose and eliminate stark health inequities." 

Next, Diez Roux introduced Raynard Washington, PhD, MPH, deputy health director of Mecklenburg County Health Department, who joined the program to inspire students who are embarking on a new journey in public health. "In our world and our country there are many threats to health and well being — this is a huge challenge but also an opportunity," he said. Washington also urged students to fight for equity and justice, and keep equity and justice at the heart of their work.

The ceremony concluded with Puja Patel, MPH student in the department of Health Management and Policy, Isla Chapman, an undergraduate student, and Nishi Dsouza, MPH, a doctoral student in the department of Community Health and Prevention, reciting the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Charter of the World Health Organization as a reflection of the School’s commitment to social justice and our vision of health as a human right.

To view all new faculty, staff, and students, view the 2020 Pinning Ceremony program.

Additional Welcome Week Activities

New students engaged in a series of activities to introduce them to their new classmates, numerous faculty, and staff members.

Starting September 8, the Center for Public Health Practice hosted the 2020 Immersion Program in an all-virtual format. This year, all incoming and current students at all academic levels (undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral) were welcomed to participate.

Participants viewed five asynchronous modules on their own time and three synchronous sessions that were live-streamed. The five asynchronous modules featured a faculty member who focused on research related to a public health topic, an alumnus who shared their experiences working in the field, and examples of practice experiences while at Dornsife. The five topics were housing and homelessness, infectious disease, mental health, reproductive and global health, and violence. The three synchronous online sessions featured a moderated discussion with a panelist, and students were able to ask questions. The sessions focused on the health disparities experienced by Black Americans, LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants.

Though the Immersion Program looked different in 2020, students still broadened their connection and understanding of public health locally, nationally, and globally.

On September 15, Student Affairs hosted the annual Summer Reading and Book Circle. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson was Dornsife’s 2020 book selection. This year, Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, an assistant professor at Dornsife, and Benjamin Barber, a researcher and writer of Facing South, gave an introduction and shared their reflections about the chosen book. Afterwards, participants were split into smaller groups for discussion.

Other Welcome Week events included an Exploring Philadelphia Q&A hosted by Orientation Leaders; Color Brave hosted by Drexel’s Center for Inclusive Education and Scholarship; Jeopardy Night hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government Organization; Virtual Mural Arts Tour led by Jennifer Breaux, PhD, director of Undergraduate Education and associate teaching professor of community health and prevention; and a session titled “Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Depression” to help students with their mental health.

View more upcoming Dornsife events