The University of Iowa College of Public Health honored 133 graduates at a ceremony and reception on May 13.
In congratulating the graduates, Dean Sue Curry referenced the crucial role they will play as future public health professionals confronting such issues as the water crisis in Flint, Mich.
“Clean and safe water is a cornerstone of public health achievement for many and a public health challenge for too many others,” said Dean Curry. “For many Americans, it’s shocking to see that challenge first-hand in our country – but we do. In the case of Flint, aging infrastructure, lack of values for health equity and social justice, and failure to implement evidence-based policy decisions among other things converged to create a health hazard and crisis of tragic proportions.
“Public health professionals are critical members of teams needed to fix the problem we face in this situation and prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. These professionals bring expertise in population surveillance to monitor for health problems. They bring the values, and the commitment to social justice, to know that such monitoring is especially important in vulnerable populations. They also bring critically needed expertise in areas such as health communication and translating knowledge into policy and practice – to name a few. These are core competencies that we train to and that our graduates are leaving with.”
Dean Curry also recognized Dr. Erica Spies and Dr. Leslie Ain McClure as the recipients of the College’s 2016 Outstanding Alumni Awards. These awards recognize College of Public Health alumni who have made distinguished contributions to the field of public health and demonstrated a strong interest and commitment to the mission, vision, and values of the college.