A new crop of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health students got their official welcome to the School when Orientation kicked off on Aug. 21.
The week’s worth of events began at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, where 488 new students from 58 countries were welcomed with School swag, a light breakfast, and a chance to mingle with one another. They then heard welcome remarks from Jane Kim, interim dean of the faculty and dean for academic affairs.
“You have arrived here at a critical inflection point for our world,” Kim told the students. She listed the emergencies that require the attention of public health experts: the pandemic, healthcare burnout, health misinformation, climate change, and health inequities. “Faced with this series of interlocking crises, we each have two options,” said Kim. “We could bury our heads in the sand, disregard the alarms ringing out around us, and focus solely on our own success. Or we can act. We can hold our gaze steady on the failures that permeate our society. We can devote our time and talents to addressing these deep challenges.”
Students also heard from Gabriela Rosa, president of the Harvard Chan Student Association. Howard Koh, Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership, gave the keynote address.
Other highlights of the week included campus tours; sessions on programs, departments, and the case study method; an introduction to the U.S. healthcare system from John McDonough, professor of the practice of public health leadership; affinity gatherings for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and First Gen students; a workshop on how the arts can help address loneliness, featuring an arts activity; and an ice cream social.