PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In the late 19th century, Brown University’s focus on community health led to the establishment of one of the nation’s first municipal public health laboratories in Providence.
In Fall 2013, building on more than a century of public health leadership, the Corporation of Brown University, the University's governing body, voted to merge Brown’s impactful public health programs into a unified School of Public Health. Ten years later, the University will launch a 12-month celebration of the school’s history, impact and future plans, said Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the dean of the School of Public Health, in an August 15 letter to the Brown University community announcing the celebration.
“Generations later, our school continues to translate this commitment to improving the health of all people into research and programs fit for the 21st century,” Jha wrote. “From revolutionizing how substance use is understood and treated, to guiding people and policymakers through the COVID-19 pandemic, to improving access to public health leadership by establishing the Health Equity Scholars program, our School of Public Health is building towards addressing the pressing public health challenges of our time.”
The celebration of 10 Years of Brown’s School of Public Health will commence with a campus-wide event on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 27, at which Jha will join Brown President Christina H. Paxson, under whose leadership the school was created, to explore the past, present and future vision for public health at Brown.
The kick-off celebration will commence a year of public health-themed conversations, seminars, lectures, community gatherings and action-oriented offerings.
These include the Dean’s Conversation Series, where Jha will invite distinguished speakers from around the world to join him for discussions about pressing public health challenges, and Our Storied Health, an integrated media experience from Brown Arts Ignite and the Pandemic Center that will involve film screenings and workshops showcasing the power of storytelling as a public health intervention. Additional events will be listed on the school’s newly-refreshed website.
Throughout the 12-month celebration, the School of Public Health will also share stories of impact through articles, interviews and profiles of students and researchers online and on social media.
“At 10, we are a nimble, entrepreneurial, collaborative and intellectually rigorous school,” Jha wrote. “We create community among nationally and internationally recognized researchers, a growing number of top global health practitioners and leaders, and our superb, diverse students. We know the best way to become an effective public health leader is through training that is deeply rooted in practice.”
Jha said this is a fitting time for Brown’s School of Public Health to learn from the past.
“At the tail end of a historic pandemic, with a host of pressing challenges ahead of us, it is an important time to build on our history, renew our commitment and create a bold path forward together,” Jha wrote.