Letter From the Dean
Columbia Mailman School of Public Health began to educate public health leaders in 1922, in the aftermath of the influenza pandemic, and today we find ourselves starting our second century during another pandemic. It is a reminder of how far public health has come and how far we still need to go.
Over the past 100 years, public health achievements have extended life spans by more than three decades. Workplaces, motor vehicles, and our food supply are safer. Mothers and babies are healthier. Campaigns in favor of immunization and against tobacco use have succeeded. Our air and water are cleaner. Our work is far from done, however. We need to extend our “health spans” to match our longer life spans. We face increasingly complex challenges, such as the climate crisis, emerging infectious diseases, a growing chronic disease burden, humanitarian emergencies, and widening health disparities—all while we are confronting disinformation, distrust, and disinvestment in public health and science.
As public health professionals, we have a responsibility to bring public health back to the center of “the commons.” It is a public good that is fundamental to a flourishing society. Since our founding, our School has been dedicated to fostering this flourishing, and to excellence. As we begin our second century, we are launching a vision of our leadership; establishing the capabilities that are essential to this leadership; and galvanizing dynamic and foundational innovation and investment for maximal societal benefit.
With today’s knowledge, tools, and technologies, we have an unprecedented opportunity to transform public health. Building on our strengths, we will expand interdisciplinary research teams, increase investment in innovation to give faculty the resources to tackle the challenges of the future, provide increased scholarship support to work toward debt-free education, and expand our doctoral training programs. These investments will position
us to provide the public health leadership needed in New York City and around the globe.
We will launch our second century at our Centennial Gala on April 26, 2023. I look forward to celebrating the groundbreaking accomplishments of our faculty, students, staff, and alumni with you. I am honored to be a member of this wonderful community as we begin our second century with renewed dedication to building a healthy and just world.
Wishing you good health,
Dean Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH