Dean Boris Lushniak

Congratulations to the 658 graduates of the School of Public Health’s class of 2020! We’re celebrating the amazing accomplishments of the next generation of public health leaders. Yet, your mission is only beginning right now. 

What a time to be entering the world of public health! In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, public health is in the forefront. Public health is a bold and noble profession, and invisible no more. Perhaps for the first time, your loved ones understand what you have been doing all this time studying public health. They might actually know what epidemiology is now! 

I hope, like me, you are inspired by the amazing work of local and state public health workers, frontline health care workers and all those who are working to safeguard our communities, keep essential services running and protect the most vulnerable among us. We mourn those we have lost and work to support those who are suffering as a result of this unprecedented pandemic. We can be proud of the role many of our alumni and students are playing in preparedness and response activities throughout our region. 

Yet we also are seeing what happens when there isn’t a continued investment in public health infrastructure.

Crises like the one we are in now make public health visible to all, yet we know that the work of public health matters every day, not just in times of emergency.

Our country spends much more on medical care (or “sick” care) than we do on public health and wellness. Yet, you are part of Generation Public Health and can help make the case to support prevention and public health now and in the future.

Every day lives are being saved by public health, and you are beginning a career path that will protect and improve the health of individuals, families, communities, and populations, locally and globally. 

Pandemics bring public health to the fore, and we need to keep it there. I’m so proud of our Public Health Terps, and look forward to how you will make your mark in fearlessly promoting health for all. 

As you celebrate your graduation, please make sure to thank someone who helped get you where you are today - a teacher, a mentor, a parent or sibling, or a friend. I hope you will watch our School of Public Health virtual commencement together with those close to you, and celebrate and reflect on all you have learned and are continuing to learn as you embark on a pathway to do public health good!  

Thank you for being who you are, and congratulations class of 2020!

Boris D. Lushniak. MD, MPH
Dean and Professor
University of Maryland, School of Public Health