July 7, 2021
Dear Fellow Public Healthers,
I hope you had a good long weekend and were able to celebrate with family and friends. I was fortunate enough to host a small gathering thanks to guests being fully vaccinated, and seeing so many celebrations across the country was an inspiring illustration of the power of the vaccines.
You likely saw the email from Russell Carey that the University has reached its goal of a 90% vaccination rate, allowing us to further relax on-campus restrictions. This is a fantastic milestone. However, while we look forward to resuming on-campus activity next month, we still have work to do. As of this week, 86.4% of SPH staff members have uploaded their vaccination cards or applied for an exemption. For comparison, the current Brown vaccination rate for active staff is 91% as of July 5, which means that we are behind the rest of the University. While the relaxation of on-campus restrictions applies to everyone (including us), as the School of Public Health, we are called to lead the way in following evidence to bring the scourge of this pandemic under control, and increasing our own vaccination rate will show that we are leaders in this area.
I am writing to remind everyone who has been vaccinated to upload their cards – for which you can find instructions here – and for those folks who still need to be vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. The University has reached out to those not yet in compliance individually, and I would like to offer an encouraging follow-up. You are all so critical to the functioning of the school, and I don’t want to see anyone in our community be placed on unpaid leave for failing to be vaccinated (or have an authorized exemption).
One more thing: you likely heard that the highly transmissible Delta variant is now the dominant strain in the country. The best way to protect yourself is by being fully vaccinated. We work a lot with data in public health, but behind each statistic is a real person. So on a personal note, I also encourage anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
Thank you for all you do for public health. I am grateful to be a part of this wonderful community.
Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH
Dean, School of Public Health
Professor of Health Services, Policy & Practice