Letter from the Chair – 03/27/20

Fellow members of the department,

I hope that everyone is safe and healthy as we resume offering courses, albeit it in a new format. I want to thank our faculty and TAs for thinking creatively about how they will conduct courses in the coming weeks as well as our dedicated staff and school IT personnel who all worked diligently to ensure we were as ready as can be today. I know there will be some hiccups along the way, so I hope everyone will continue to be understanding and supportive as we work our way through the process.

One of the things that this disease outbreak has made more clear than ever is that we train the very best and brightest quantitative health scientists who are capable of tacking questions about disease, its transmission and strategies to mitigate it, and the social, economic, and other impacts that it has on people and society. The importance of what we are doing collectively, in teaching and research, should not be lost on anyone. So my thanks to everyone for your contributions.

A great deal of our discussion within the department has been about mental health. I recognize that this is a particularly stressful time for many of us and want to remind everyone that there are resources available. Elizabeth posted some on the #wellness thread of thread of the department’s SLACK channel and other information can be found at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/coronavirus/.

But the most important thing to remember is that we are a community. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. So stay in touch with your family, friends, colleagues, and collaborators as we find new ways to work and learn. And don’t forget to stay active and healthy. Even if it is just going for a long walk, try to get out at least a bit.

And–faculty, postdocs, students and staff–let us know if there is any way in which we can help.

I want to close by thanking everyone in our department for their willingness to work together to make the best of a challenging situation. The commitment that everyone has shown to being creative in carrying on our research and teaching mission has been extraordinary. I could not be prouder to be a member of any community and I am honored to part of this one. I look forward to when we can all be together in person. Until then stay safe and healthy.