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Message from Dr. David J. Lee, Interim Chair and Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, heralding a period of unprecedented change and challenge across the globe that continues to this day. Since then, there have been truly remarkable advances, including the development, production, and distribution of highly effective vaccines aimed at ending the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has also focused a spotlight on the critical role of public health—the science that works to protect and improve the health of people and their communities. The need for experts in the areas of infectious disease, epidemiology, prevention science, community health, environmental health, biostatistics, and public policy has never been greater.

The mission at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences—which is to bring about sustainable, positive changes in health—has continued in this pivotal moment in history. Since the WHO pandemic declaration, our faculty, research staff, administration staff, students, and alumni have persevered with resiliency and adaptability—together as a community to provide exceptional solutions to public health challenges. From being on the frontlines, publishing ground-breaking studies, and securing grants for research on COVID-19 to working together as a community, adapting to different learning and working modalities, and thriving with resilience, you name it, they have done it.

During this unprecedented year, I am also proud to share news on our graduate programs, new scholarship opportunities, and research rankings.

From Fall 2019 to Fall 2020, our Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) and Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) graduate programs saw a remarkable 85 percent enrollment increase. In the Spring 2021 semester, we enrolled one of our largest cohorts with 17 graduate students. The future is bright for these students and for public health. 

In addition to our research, graduate, and teaching assistantship opportunities for students in all programs, we announced a new full-tuition scholarship for incoming full-time M.P.H. and M.S.P.H. graduate students known as the Resiliency Scholarship, as well as guaranteed partial scholarships to accepted students in the Master of Science in Biostatistics and the Master of Science in Prevention Science and Community Health programs. 

The department’s five divisions and drug research center, including the Division of Biostatistics, Division of Epidemiology and Population Health Sciences, Division of Environment and Public Health, Division of Prevention Science and Community Health, Division of Health Services Research and Policy, as well as the Comprehensive Drug Research Center, continues to also celebrate milestone research achievements.

According to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research in February 2021, the Department of Public Health Sciences ranked as the No. 4 most National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded department out of 28 in the Miller School of Medicine. Out of 46 research portfolios of public health departments within medical schools nationwide, our department is in the top 20 most funded by the prestigious NIH, ranking at No. 15. Lastly, the University of Miami’s Office of Research Administration announced that our department was No. 6 out of the top 10 highest-funded departments within the University.

I cannot say enough about the remarkable resiliency of our faculty, research staff, administration, students, and alumni who have become effective learners in the middle of a pandemic and have partnered seamlessly to deliver and participate in pioneering programs that have improved public health outcomes locally, nationally, and globally. 

I am grateful to witness and be a part of this incredible group of public health leaders and invite you to peruse through our Department of Public Health Sciences COVID-19 Impact Report, which showcases the incredible aforementioned achievements. 

Sincerely,

David J. Lee, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences
Chair of Graduate Programs, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
305-243-6980
dlee@med.miami.edu