Letter from the Dean

Toward a more just world

We often say that our work at the Columbia Mailman School is guided by a bold vision: to build a healthy and just world. What do we mean by “just”? It’s a world in which all people—regardless of their identity, income, or where they live—have equal opportunity and access to health.

This issue of our magazine looks at how we can use public health science for social good and build that just world. The impact of climate change on human health is one of the most urgent and complex public health crises we will face in our lifetime—one with implications for generations to come. Our cover story explores our work to understand, anticipate, and mitigate the impact of climate change, and to ensure “climate justice” for those who are the most vulnerable.

Our 2019 commencement speaker, the Honorable Al Gore, former vice president of the United States, has been raising awareness of the climate crisis for decades. On page 18, we discuss his recent work, including co-founding the Climate Reality Project, and more.

We also celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Sociomedical Sciences department, which tackles health inequity in innovative ways, and we learn more about the exciting work of the Global Health Justice and Governance program, which investigates the systemic causes of health disparities.

If you haven’t been to campus recently, you can see exciting changes in the photos below. In Spring 2019, in partnership with New York City, the Columbia University Irving Medical Center created Haven Plaza, approximately 60,000 square feet of open green space for the entire community to enjoy between 169th Street and Fort Washington Avenue. I hope you’ll visit us soon to see this lovely oasis for yourself!

Dean Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH