AS A PROFESSOR OF BIOSTATISTICS AT THE FIELDING SCHOOL since 2010, I was well aware of our school’s strengths — accomplished faculty whose impact through research, teaching and service extends from the classroom to the community; bright and dedicated students who inspire us all through their passion and commitment; hardworking and talented staff who make everything we do at FSPH possible; and alumni who contribute to healthier populations, both in our local communities and around the world. Yet every day in my new role as interim dean, I’m learning even more about our incredible community, and my gratitude for the people and programs that make it so special has grown immeasurably.
I am honored and humbled to serve as interim dean as UCLA undertakes a national search for a new, permanent dean. I am grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from faculty, staff and students and thankful for the vital contributions of Professor Yifang Zhu, who was acting dean for the two months prior to my appointment. I also want to express my appreciation to Dr. Jody Heymann for her leadership as the school’s dean. During the years that Dr. Heymann was at the helm, the Fielding School solidified its position as one of the nation’s leading public health schools with growing national and global impact.
This issue of our magazine showcases work that is central to the Fielding School mission — training of master’s and doctoral students, as well as postdoctoral scholars. FSPH training is both formal and informal, and across all of our programs it is characterized by “doing” — the notion that students and other trainees, in conjunction with faculty, staff and community mentors, benefit greatly from practical, on-the-ground experiences that will prepare them for impactful public health careers. These activities are helping to meet critical public health needs at home and abroad. Indeed, the need for a growing and diverse public health workforce has never been greater.
This is an exciting time for the public health profession, which is poised to make unprecedented progress. By preparing a new generation of public health leaders with training that will allow them to hit the ground running, the Fielding School is leading the charge.