A note from Dean Amy Fairchild

As we prepare to congratulate our latest graduating class and look forward to all the good that they’ll do in the fields of public health and health care management, I find myself thinking about the experiences they have while at Ohio State – both inside and outside the classroom – and how those enriching moments enhance their ability to flourish. This year’s spring magazine is a perfect opportunity to join me in this reflection.

Summernickol Stewart, who is our featured speaker at CPH Pre-Commencement this year, illustrates the breadth of what a student can accomplish while in the BSPH program. As an undergrad, Summernickol advanced her passion for maternal and infant health and health equity when she took it upon herself to train to become a doula. That she did this in the midst of the worst of the pandemic, at a time when many of us were struggling to maintain our usual responsibilities at work and in the classroom, is a wonder to me. I have no doubt she will see her dreams to further improve the health of at-risk moms come to pass.

The students who are part of Buckeyes for Harm Reduction also inspire me with their work to lean into empathy and understanding for those who use drugs, and to educate our Ohio State Columbus campus community, giving them the tools to save lives in the face of the ongoing opioid and fentanyl epidemics. This is work that students Dana Oehme and Laura Powers commit themselves to outside of their typical responsibilities, and the kind of forward-thinking that makes communities stronger through the core public health practice of harm reduction.

Jason Marion, MS ’10 PhD ’11, who is featured in this issue of the magazine, highlights the kind of lasting academic and research contributions our alumni are making all over the world. Jason, a longtime employee at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, now teaches at Eastern Kentucky University, where he carries on his interest in water quality, biodiversity and how both impact human health. “Ohio State and CPH gave me the opportunity to have a rich and practical academic experience while also plugging me into a diverse network of peers, community leaders and researchers,” Jason told writer Kristen Mitchell. 

Finally, as we applaud the college’s founding dean Stan Lemeshow as he heads into retirement, I am impressed by the remarkable legacy he leaves. Stan is a forward-thinking public health leader who saw the value of championing an independent College of Public Health and was integral to this college’s success. But perhaps his greatest legacy is the passion he brought to lifting up his students – to helping them believe in themselves and the vast contributions they could bring to public health and biostatistics. Congratulations, Stan! Thank you for all that you’ve done for those students and for our college.



Amy Fairchild signature

Amy Lauren Fairchild, PhD, MPH 
Dean, College of Public Health 
Professor, Health Services Policy & Management

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