As the keynote speaker at the Yale School of Public Health’s 2019 commencement, Dr. Mary Bassett urged students to follow their hearts, have courage and use their newly acquired knowledge to go out and confront the pressing public health issues impacting lives around the globe. Dr. Bassett’s message to the 229 YSPH graduates was that if she could do it, they could too. With U.S. life expectancy declining for the third year in a row, maternal mortality rates rising and U.S. incarceration rates five times higher than other developed nations, there is plenty of work to do, Dr. Bassett said.
“This is the big picture, the broader challenge that awaits you as you leave the classroom,” Dr. Bassett said.“You are encountering a difficult world…but this is your world to change too. I know you have the skills. I know you have the commitment. So, go for it, Class of 2019. Speak up! Speak out!”
Dean Sten H. Vermund echoed Dr. Bassett’s theme of social justice. “There are few vocations that have more potential for contributing to the public good and enriching your own lives,” Dean Vermund said. “A public health professional can go to work each day knowing the difference that they make in our world.”
YSPH student Ms. Sophie To provided the student address. She praised her fellow graduates for spearheading initiatives that made the Yale School of Public Health more inclusive during their time there — from designating more gender neutral bathrooms to setting meaningful programming for students and alumni of color to having the school provide free menstrual products to all students who need them.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on June 14