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Collaboration, A Cornerstone of Public Health

January 2021

One year on, we continue to fight the pandemic on multiple fronts. Addressing new COVID-19 variants, surges in cases, unequal access to care, and the challenges of delivering vaccines into people’s arms.

But there is some good news. The new vaccines that were developed in record time have high efficacy rates, and the post-holiday surge in the numbers of cases and hospitalizations in Southern California — which UCLA Fielding School of Health Professor Robert Kim-Farley called a ‘viral tsunami’ —  is finally beginning to ebb.

The ups and downs will inevitably continue, but what remains unchanged is that we got into this together and we need to work together to navigate our way out.

I remember coming to UCLA eleven years ago, when I was interviewing for a professor position in our school’s Department of Biostatistics. I marveled at Los Angeles’ sunny sky, the beautiful campus and impressive architecture. But what stood out to me the most was that all of the schools — medicine, nursing, dentistry, management, public policy, theater, engineering, and so many more — were all on one campus. Collaboration is a cornerstone of public health and it’s a rare opportunity to have so many problem solvers in one physical location.

How we collaborate has changed in the last year, but game-changing solutions born out of unexpected alliances that cross disciplines, oceans, and differences have continued unabated. Public health will persevere.

This month may have felt like a year unto itself, but there is light on the horizon and reason to allow hope in.





Ron Brookmeyer
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health