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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

South Florida Graduates Future Heroes

“Never doubt that a single individual can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has — Margaret Mead,” said Dr. Kay Perrin, interim associate dean for the Office of Academic and Student Affairs in USF College of Public Health.

This is one of many graduation-related ‘charges’ issued to the Class of 2016.

On May 6, the COPH hosted two celebrations for graduates and their families. More than 150 undergraduates participated in a morning pinning ceremony, followed by an afternoon event that recognized the academic contributions of 109 graduate students.

USF COPH pinning ceremony

“To the parents and friends in attendance today who are still trying to figure out what public health is, don’t fret,” said Dr. Donna Petersen, COPH dean. “My mom still asks me and I’ve been working in public health for more than 30 years!”

Dean Petersen went on to share that the “World Health Organization defines public health as what we do collectively to improve the health of the population. And, public health is everywhere!”

From the day’s newspaper, Petersen shared excerpts of several articles that exemplify public health …

“The rise in ER toothache visits are contributing to higher health care costs.” [Oral health is public health]

“Wildfires in Alberta, Canada continue to grow. More than 80K residents were evacuated.” [Disaster management and humanitarian relief is public health]

“In South Carolina, a teen died from injuries suffered on a high ropes course. Apparently, ropes courses aren’t covered by the same laws and standards as theme parks and other attractions.” [Safety and injury prevention is public health]

“And finally, Janet Jackson is pregnant — at 50!” [Maternal and child health is public health]

Abner Devallon strikes a bullish pose with his daughter Brittney, who graduated with a BS in public heath on May 6.
[Mr. Abner Devallon strikes a bullish pose with his daughter Brittney, who graduated with a BS in public heath on May 6. (Photo courtesy of Brittney Devallon)]

In April, COPH students joined forces to select an outstanding professor. A record number of nominations were received and Dr. Jaime Corvin was presented with the 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award.

As the recipient, Corvin is invited to give a ‘last lecture’ to the graduating class.

When reflecting on what to share with the Class of 2016, Corvin drew inspiration from a Mother’s Day video that is currently circulating on social media.

The message? Slow down.

“The premise of the video is how fast it all goes — time. With a blink it is gone and you are left looking back,” Corvin said. “And when I think of that video, I think of you—the graduates.”

“How just a few short years ago, you entered our program excited, wide-eyed and ready to change the world.  You cut your teeth on research and took your first steps into public health practice. Some of you stumbled, but you all got back up ‘cause that’s what Bulls do. And today, you are running through that door as you are coming into your own. You made it and you should be proud. Rest assured we are!”

“This has been an amazing journey with excitement and adventure, and some bumps and bruises. But before you spring into the next phase, just slow down for a minute. Look to your left and right. Look at your friends — these are your people. I am willing to bet they have made a lasting impact on your life. Cherish these memories and these relationships.

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