DLSPH Open: Alumni Engagement
The Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s alumni community is a network of more than 5,000 public health and health system practitioners and leaders, including graduates of the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. Alumni are among the School’s best ambassadors, serving as partners, research collaborators, practicum supervisors, faculty members and student mentors, and are critical to achieving our vision.
Enhanced partnerships and management is a key priority for the Faculty and one important component to this is strengthening engagement with alumni. That’s why we’ve created new opportunities and boosted existing ones for alumni to participate in events and networking, student mentorship and continuing education. With two strong new leaders – Lee Fairclough, President of IHPME’s Alumni Association and Julie Foisy, President of the Public Health Alumni Association – we’ve seen tremendous growth and engagement with our alumni communities over the last year and there’s more to come.
Under Julie’s leadership, the PHAA relaunched its signature In the Loop event in partnership with Public Health Ontario at The Ontario Public Health Convention on March 22 featuring an energetic talk by Professor Timothy Caulfield, Professor of health and law at the University of Alberta. More than 200 alumni, faculty and students attended the sold-out talk, representing a two-and-a-half-fold increase from previous In the Loop events.
Similarly, Moonshot 2017 was IHPME Alumni Association’s largest-ever alumni networking event that featured a fascinating talk by renowned complexity leadership expert Mary Uhl-Bien from Texas Christian University. The event was hosted in partnership with Health Quality Ontario and celebrated the Institute’s 70th anniversary with shared stories, photos and even an original song.
Each event celebrated two emerging alumni leaders: Gillian Kolla, a PhD candidate in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences, was recognized with the inaugural Emerging Public Health Leader Alumni Award; and Lauren Bell, Health Informatics student, received the Emerging Health Systems Leaders Award, which is named in honour of Louise Lemieux-Charles who served as IHPME Chair from 2002-2012.
Up next is our first-ever U of T Alumni Reunion event on June 2, Doughnuts with the Dean, which is an opportunity for both our alumni communities to bring their families to a morning mixer at the Health Sciences Building. There will be short lectures by faculty on a variety of health policy and public health issues, an emergency preparedness session led by epidemiology students and faculty, and a timeline exhibit revisiting DLSPH’s rich history. We’re taking lighthearted approach with event name, but nutritional programming is provided by MPH students in Nutrition and Dietetics so healthy options will be available.
Alumni are critical, valued members of the DLSPH community and we are working in partnership with both alumni associations to create new opportunities to strengthen mentoring relationships between alumni and learners as well as develop new continuing education offerings.
I encourage all members of our community to attend our spring U of T Alumni Reunion event because it’s important for us to come together to enjoy a talk and network while celebrating our achievements. We will continue to have a strong impact on public health and health systems with the continued support and engagement of our alumni.
Interim Dean, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Dalla Lana Chair in Public Health Policy