Welcome to 2021 and the first issue of the year.
I mentioned in our last issue the dual public health crises we were facing at that time: the COVID-19 pandemic and racial discrimination and inequity. These are ongoing threats, but within our country and in our school, movement is palpable, and this new year seems to be bringing some much-needed recognition, and importantly, change.
We have the hopeful news that vaccines are being distributed and will hopefully soon give us relief from the spread of COVID-19. This cannot happen soon enough. The work of the public health and scientific community, some of it taking place at University at Buffalo, is propelling us forward as we deal with both the health-related and societal impacts of this disease.
Issues of discrimination, inequity and social justice are longstanding and surely will take much more time and sustained effort to mitigate. But, in our school and at UB as a whole, I see commitment—from administration, faculty, and students—to find ways to help move our university and out community forward.
At SPHHP, we are taking steps to combat discrimination and grow diversity on many fronts—in our people, our curriculum, the voices and viewpoints we put forward, and more. This month’s cover article details these activities, and, you will see that we have already seen a number of early, concrete results. This ongoing work is informed by the varied perspectives and experiences of the committed group of students, faculty and staff leading it.
I hope 2021 brings you sustained energy to devote to the challenges we face. We can work together to address these important challenges. I am proud of the work being done by so many in our school and beyond. Let us continue this work and be ambassadors for change.
Stay safe! Stay strong!
Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD
Dean, UB School of Public Health and Health Professions
SUNY Distinguished Professor