Lakshmi Nayana Vootakuru

A challenge we face together

Fall 2011 ]

This fall, nearly 500 new students enter HSPH. They come from 44 different countries and 40 U.S. states. Many of them arrive having already accomplished extraordinary things in their careers. They are physicians, professors, scientists, policy analysts, research assistants, medical residents, teachers, and others who see public health as the best way they can make a difference in the world.

What better way to welcome them than with the words of Dr. Lakshmi Nayana Vootakuru, who, as student speaker at commencement in May, sent the departing class off with these thoughts:

Public health is about re-imagining this society, to one where education, health, and opportunity are plentiful and access to services is available to those who need it most and can ask for it least. Yes, in this most scientific of fields, firmly rooted in epidemiology and biostatistics, the most salient feature to me is…imagination. Because that is where transformation begins.

…Henry David Thoreau said, “This world is but a canvas to our imaginations.” May your imagination give you the vision to create a hundred new realities in every corner of the globe and every frontier of public health.

Imagining a healthier world is a challenge we face together. To everyone who has risen to this challenge–and especially those who have supported our students and contributed to our ambitious goal of tripling financial aid over the next two years–thank you. I can imagine no better way to make a difference than helping committed people whose driving ambition is to make the world a better, safer, more just, and healthier place.

Ellie Starr,
Vice Dean for External Relations

Safety test: Gates Foundation supports clinical trial for childbirth checklist
CIFF grant supports new health leadership development program
A humanitarian academy at HSPH
Nanoscience and health: Tiny technology raises big questions