Amid a global pandemic that has claimed more than 257,000 lives in the US and 1,390,000 lives globally, we want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank all of the public health professionals who have played an integral role in the response. Since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak was declared a public health emergency, the public health workforce has worked tirelessly to improve and preserve the health of our communities. You deserve our deepest gratitude.
We are grateful to members of the academic public health community who are working continuously in communities around the world on the public health response. Our leadership, faculty, staff, and students immediately jumped into action in the response to COVID-19 and continue with that commitment to protecting the health of the public. Faculty and staff serve in many roles including conducting research; collaborating with health departments and other partners; providing expert guidance and sharing information to the public about COVID-19 including hosting podcasts; developing and hosting workforce training on critical issues; and managing surveillance systems that are providing key information and data concerning the pandemic.
We are especially thankful to all of the students and alumni who are engaging in the global response by serving as contact tracers; supporting safe re-entry to campus for undergraduate students; contributing to monitoring and evaluation activities; and providing translation services to ensure that critical health information is available to everyone in their communities. In addition, we want to recognize the many contributions of students who are volunteering in their communities to hand out free masks, hand sanitizers, and educational materials.
We also applaud the dedication and leadership of our governmental partners at the federal, local, state, and tribal public health level. They have been in the forefront of the public health response to COVID-19. These public health leaders were not deterred by lack of PPE, limited workforce, and institutional capacity to meet the most urgent needs within their communities. To all public health and academic public health professionals and students everywhere our deepest appreciation, we thank you.