PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At the start of his first “State of the School” address, one year into his tenure as dean of the Brown School of Public Health, Dr. Ashish K. Jha urged the audience to look around and take in the moment — a public health moment if there ever was one.
“Here we are: Open tent. Socially distanced. Many of you wearing masks,” Jha said.
Multiple effective vaccines against COVID-19 are freely available, yet people are taking health and safety precautions because, he said, the world is still fighting a pandemic that has exposed “weaknesses in our national public health system and the inability of that system to meet the urgent challenges of our time.”
Speaking to a Brown public health community of faculty, staff and newly arrived undergraduate and graduate students on Wednesday, Sept. 1, on the University’s Simmons Quad, Jha referred to the pandemic as a lens through which the school and the country as a whole could view lessons learned — and a focal point for charting a path for what needs to happen next.
“As a school, we have important and urgent opportunities to confront what COVID has exposed,” Jha said. “Because throughout history, pandemics have opened a window for action that wasn’t open before. How we choose to act is up to us.” READ MORE