Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community:
As we prepare to enter the holiday break, I know we are all juggling multiple obligations. But this moment also provides us with a unique and valuable opportunity to pause and take stock of the past 12 months before diving into the year ahead.
In that spirit, I’ve been thinking about the state of our public health. As you well know, 2022 has been marked by challenges both new and old—from the lingering effects of the pandemic and the continued inequities that define our health care system, to attacks on basic public health protections.
But despite these setbacks, I am filled with hope for the future of our field. My optimism starts with all of you, and your dedication to building a healthier world. You are not alone in this commitment to the public good; we need look no further than November’s midterm election results, when voters in blue states and red states alike voted on key ballot measures in a way that reflected care and concern for their neighbors. Empathy is gaining ground against the “every-man-for-himself” ethos. And I am confident that together, we can turn this moment in a movement.
However, you cannot take care of others if you do not first take care of yourself. So I wish you a restful and truly restorative holiday season, filled with loved ones and cherished traditions. I hope that you will take the time you need to recharge — and come back ready to continue our valuable work.
Michelle A. Williams, ScD
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School