“We are proud of the role that we’ve had in preparing public health professionals who have taken their place in the public health community serving across employment sectors—from administering drive-thru COVID testing to serving as contact tracers and providing mental health services for those in crisis. Our researchers continue to advance discoveries important for health beyond the current pandemic to support healthy communities.”
Carey Drews-Botsch, Department Chair, Global and Community Health
In most years, those entrusted with safeguarding the public’s health – public health practitioners and researchers and countless others – operate behind the scenes. Public health professionals support healthy communities by ensuring that people address acute and chronic health conditions, are immunized against infectious diseases, have clean and safe food, water and air, and that workplaces are safe.
But 2020 has been a year like no other in modern times. Historic elections and threats to voting rights, demonstrations for social justice, increasingly visible impacts of climate change, and a global pandemic have impacted the health and lives of millions of people. These and other events underscore the necessity of a strong public health infrastructure to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Importantly, the events of 2020 have shown a bright light on the importance of the public health workforce. 2020 is a year to applaud, appreciate, and fund our public health infrastructure and the public health workforce for their efforts to keep our populations safe and to care for those in need.
Our work, and that of our students, as public health professionals serves the community by supporting efforts to promote health, stem the spread of the disease and to address important health issues including health inequities, depression and opioid use, diabetes and obesity, and chemicals that affect healthy breathing and human reproduction. Our community is on the leading edge of improving public health with big data, mobile and telehealth, and virtual reality. We have an influential voice in national and state capital buildings to represent populations who might not otherwise be heard.
We have prepared undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of public health disciplines for academic and practice careers, and we are on the cusp of admitting our first cohort of public health doctoral students. As the future home of public health in Virginia, the College is proud to work with and for the public health heroes of our community. On Public Health Thank You Day, we are grateful for our faculty, students, staff, alumni, community partners, and friends of public health -- all of whom strive to make health visible during times of crisis and in times of relative calm when the important work of our graduates continues largely unnoticed.