It is a great honor and responsibility to serve as interim dean of The Ohio State University College of Public Health. Though my primary expertise is in optometry, my passion for public health runs deep, back to my days at UC Berkeley, where much of my coursework was in biostatistics and epidemiology at their School of Public Health. My connections to the field, and admiration for the far-reaching work of public health, have been further strengthened by my work to prevent and slow the progression of nearsightedness in children by encouraging public health recommendations that encourage ample outdoor time for schoolchildren worldwide. More recently, I’ve been focused on testing low-dose atropine eyedrops as a tool to slow progression of nearsightedness — another upstream approach to improving health.
Public health’s dual focus on prevention and equity brings to mind a quote from Thomas Carlyle: “He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.”
Here at Ohio State’s College of Public Health, I see hope for a brighter future for all everywhere I look.
Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are taking on the social and economic inequities that drive health disparities, working to mitigate longstanding public health challenges related to substance misuse and the opioid crisis and exploring ways to ensure that women of color receive appropriate and early detection and care for cancer. They are crossing oceans to prevent the spread of Ebola, monitoring wastewater for early signs of infectious disease, and applying science to inform renewed debates about access to health care, reproductive and sexual health and rights, and immunization.
The crucial research and policy initiatives in our labs and in our communities enhance the classroom experience for our students — students who will be critical to keeping hope for a healthier, more equitable future alive for decades to come. At Ohio State, our graduate and professional programs provide unparalleled opportunities, made stronger by their connections to a robust health sciences network and to other disciplines, from engineering to law to the arts. Our Bachelor of Science in Public Health program, which offers a sociology or environmental public health focus, gives undergraduates a solid foundation for a career in public health. And our alumni are among those working on the front lines to ensure that children and adults all over the world have safe places to work, play, and grow.
The college is ranked first in Ohio and in the top 25 nationally, according to U.S. News and World Report, which ranks our stellar Master of Health Administration program eighth in the nation and our epidemiology program nineteenth overall. What the rankings do not reflect, though, is one of the most important things about Ohio State’s College of Public Health — we’re a small community within a large university, where students receive personalized mentorship and support, from their first semester to their job search.
The College of Public Health has spent the past 15 years positioning itself as a leader in research, practice, and education. I am honored to be a part of it, to interact with our dynamic alumni around the world, and to deepen the connections with our community partners here in Ohio.
Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD
Dean, College of Optometry
Interim Dean, College of Public Health