Dear friends of the SPH,
As we entered the last few days of the semester, things certainly ramped into top gear around the SPH. The halls have been filled with students preparing for finals, the faculty immersed in completing their teaching and grading duties, the researchers assuring that their end of year goals are met, and the staff making sure that our departments, centers and the dean’s office are all operating effectively and efficiently to close out the year. I look forward to celebrating with our December graduates on Wednesday as they head off on the next phases in their public health careers. Congratulations to all 312 grads! We’re very honored to have Dr. Nadine Gracia, former US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, as our commencement keynote speaker. Having worked with her at HHS, I know firsthand of her dedication to the public health mission and her inspirational story, and know that she will give our graduates a great send off! Details on the SPH commencement ceremony and livestream link can be found here.
I certainly feel blessed to be part of this diverse public health community at the SPH as I approach the end of the first year of my time as Dean (more on that next month). It’s amazing to be part of a team that is educating the next generation of public health leaders. I’ve just returned from meetings in Ukraine, the land of my ancestors and family, where there is not a single school of public health, and an incredible need for a trained public health workforce. Hopefully, the UMD SPH will play a role in influencing that nation’s track into public health education.
December is not only a time of conclusions (the semester, the calendar year) but also of celebrations. Last week, I enjoyed my first time attending what is an annual SPH faculty and staff tradition of gathering for the "ugly holiday sweater" competition and sharing a festive meal together. Check out the photos!
To those who celebrate holidays in December, I wish you a happy holiday season and a happy New Year to come. December also marks a time where many of us take a well-deserved break from our jobs or our studies. Yes, next week our halls will be quiet and empty. This is a perfect time for all of us to reflect on the things that are important to our own personal health and add to our physical, mental, and social well-being. So kick back and take a break. Clear the mind, de-stress, get out of the routines of the day. Enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and remember moderation when it comes to celebratory meals. Most importantly, reconnect and spend time with family and friends, as that social connectivity plays a key role in levels of personal happiness and wellbeing. The motto for all of us is “Rejuvenation”! And then let’s come back in 2018 and do it again!
Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH
Dean and Professor