DLSPH Open: The Second Wave

October 1/2020

Dear students, staff, alumni and faculty members,

Photo of Dean Adalsteinn Brown with his arms crossed

Adalsteinn Brown
Professor and Dean

As I write this, we are heading quickly into a second COVID-19 wave. My thoughts are with the health providers, policy analysts, and public health professionals who are dealing with this outbreak. I have heard from many of you that this is a particularly difficult time, as you face this second wave with already-depleted reserves of energy and resilience.

Faced with family responsibilities, jobs that have become far more demanding, and the extra planning and burden of getting through the day, it can feel like we are all in survival mode. And maybe that’s ok. I hope everyone can take some time for themselves whenever they can (even if means giving less than 100 percent right now), but for those without a minute free, these words may sound empty. So instead, I’ll say that I’m thinking of our community right now. I’m thinking about all of our faculty and staff members who are pulled in so many different directions; our students who are determined to get an excellent education despite the challenges; and our alumni, who are among my heroes. So many of you are working terribly long hours, largely in the background, but I see you, and I’m sending you my strength right now.

I’ve already recommended this excellent Atlantic article about public health professionals and the mental health toll of the pandemic. But it’s worth resharing.

I would also like to announce that our School has made the decision to continue remote teaching for the vast majority of classes for Winter 2021. For the few folks who need to be in our physical spaces, we’ll share our protocol on the COVID FAQ section of dlsph.utoronto.ca. And I’m happy to share that our fantastic staff, under the direction of Prof. Dionne Gesink, Associate Dean, Education, have created a virtual 8th floor lounge, where all of our students can gather to socialize. You’ll get an invitation to join shortly, and I’ll pop by on opening day. I’m very much looking forward to connecting with our students, and especially getting to know those who are new this year!

Now more than ever, we need the support of our DLSPH community. If you haven’t already, please consider connecting with fellow faculty members, students or alumni on one of our social media platforms or reach out in your own way. I have witnessed amazing acts of caring and noticed less formal, more intimate interactions all over our School in the past six months. This gives me great confidence that we will come out of this pandemic with a stronger sense of ourselves as a community.

All my best,

Dean Steini Brown