Dean’s Message: November/​December 2014

November 1/2014

As we approach the holiday break, I’ve reflected on the last year and feel tremendously proud of our School. This autumn in particular was a busy time for our School’s faculty, staff, alumni and students. I often mention our steep growth trajectory and this was very true this fall with a number of activities culminating in the last few months. Allow me to walk you through some of my reflections and recognize some key people involved.

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s Global Health Equity and Innovation Summit drew more than 750 scholars, students and international partners to the MaRS Discovery District from November 3 to 5. The summit was a catalyst for our School to inspire a young generation of global and public health leaders who will advance the idea of creating and spreading health, and I was thrilled when Paul and Alessandra Dalla Lana, our School’s founding benefactors, announced their intention to double their endowment gift. I look forward to sharing further details in the future.

The Summit discussion will set the agenda for the Institute for Global Health Equity and Innovation, and the co-chairs — Rani Kotha, Alex Jadad, Ross Upshur and Abdallah Daar — and I will share more details and next steps in the New Year.

Visit our new Flickr page to see photos from the Summit.

On the final day of the summit, our big data leaders continued the conversation into the evening and following day at the Fields Institute during the Big Data for Health Policy Workshop. Ontario’s Deputy Ministry of Health, Bob Bell, opened up the evening with a discussion on how data can illustrate success (and failures), followed by a number of distinguished keynote speakers from Toronto and across the globe.

The event was sponsored by the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and I would like to extend my thanks to Professors Laura Rosella and David Henry for pulling together this stellar event.

Just a few weeks later, IHPME hosted The Moonshot Event at Steam Whistle Brewing, celebrating alumni, students, faculty and staff. Keynote Speaker Stephen Shortell, a legendary health system scholar described as the Wayne Gretzky of health systems by event emcee Ross Baker, discussed how to create an environment of collaboration. What stuck with me were his comments about patient engagement and how health professionals shouldn’t be asking patients, “what’s the matter with you,” rather, we should be asking, “what matters to you.”

As I made my way through the crowd, I was struck by the number of health policy, quality and systems leaders — more than 250 people — a very high-powered and passionate community, proud of its connection to the Institute. I am humbled to serve as Dean of the Institute’s home faculty and I look forward to more shared events and celebrations in the future. My sincere thanks go to Adalsteinn Brown, Jodeme Goldhaar, Rhonda Cockerill, Tina Smith, Nicole Bodnar and the Moonshot planning committee.

Visit our new Flickr page to see photos from Moonshot.

As always, our students have exceled this fall. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of public

health students at all of the aforementioned events, as well as at Research and Practice Day — the largest the School hosted to date with more than 60 posters submitted — and fall convocation. I’d like to extend my appreciation to the DLSPH Grad Office, Anne Fox and all who spearheaded these student gatherings.

The 7th annual DLSPH student-led conference, From Global Mess to Local Stress: Bringing the Health Impact of Environmental Harm to the Forefront of Public Health, held on October 17 is another shining example of student leadership and ingenuity. I applaud the efforts of the conference planning committee and eagerly await next year’s event. Visit the conference Facebook page for photos.

December 1 was World AIDS Day and the School sponsored the University of Toronto’s celebration from

6:00-8:00 p.m. at Hart House. The Dalla Lana School of Public Health was at the forefront of HIV and AIDS research even before the identification of the virus. Our faculty members have made significant contributions to how the disease is treated, prevented and it’s social and behaviourial aspects.

A number of our faculty, alumni and students are engaged in research, education and knowledge translation activities here in Canada and across the globe. I would like to recognize Ted Myers and Dan Allman who lead the School’s presence at the University’s World AIDS Day celebration and I hope everyone who attended the event felt inspired by the progress made to date in HIV and AIDS research.

As you can see, we have all earned the upcoming Holiday Break!

I’d like to thank everyone who was involved in all these activities and others that contribute to the growth and vision of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. As you gather with your families this holiday season, I extend my wishes for a healthy, happy and joyous celebration. Happy New Year!

The next DLSPH eBulletin will be January 2015.

Best Regards,

Howard Hu