Spring 2022 brings with it the hope that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. It is a time to think about the long-term ways that the lessons we’ve learned in the past two years can better inform our approaches to teaching, advocacy, research and our work within public health and health administration.
In recent weeks, I’ve been thinking more about our broader public health responsibilities — focus areas not directly tied to the pandemic, but in many cases worsened by it — where we have great opportunity to champion better health and dig further into the hard work of dismantling inequities. The opioid epidemic. Tobacco addiction. Access to a full spectrum of reproductive and sexual health care. Infant mortality. Environmental threats, including climate change.
There is so much work to be done, and I’m lifted by the knowledge that Ohio State’s College of Public is preparing the next generation of public health and health care leaders to not just show up for that work, but to reimagine how it can be accomplished and to excel in those pursuits.
This issue of the Ohio State College of Public Health Magazine reminds me of our college community’s deep history in leadership and of the fresh promise of our students and recent graduates. We hear from two alumna — Janet Porter and Kate Wright — who are in far different chapters of their careers, but who share the passion that keeps the best in our field moving toward progress. Porter, ’75 BS ’77 MHA, this year’s CPH pre-commencement keynote speaker, talks about her Buckeye roots and her hopes for the future of the field. Wright, ’20 MPH, tells us what it was like to head straight from campus into the heart of community public health work during the height of the pandemic, starting her career helping the people of Union County navigate prevention, detection and vaccination.
I hope you’ll find the same inspiration in this issue’s stories as I do. They are a reminder of the breadth of what we do and what we’ve accomplished in the past year — from thinking about new ways to teach public health, to helping our students succeed through new scholarships, to sparking new conversations about how health outcomes are deeply connected to structural racism.
Amy Lauren Fairchild, PhD, MPH
Dean, College of Public Health
Professor, Health Services Policy & Management