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Department of Public Health Sciences Recognizes Excellence and Honors Graduating Students at Annual Celebration Reception

The Department of Public Health Sciences (DPSH) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine hosted its annual celebration reception to honor the graduating public health students. This year’s reception took place May 9th, at SALT Waterfront Restaurant located within the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science campus at the University of Miami.

The reception brought together graduates of the Fall ’22, Spring, and Summer ’23 semesters, along with staff and faculty members. It was a time to recognize and celebrate the hard work and dedication of these students, who have completed their studies in public health.

The event featured speeches from notable figures in the department who spoke to the graduates about the importance of their work and their impact on communities.

Department Chair David Lee at Graduation Reception
Dr. David Lee

“We are facing enormous public health challenges, but we are proud of this resilient cohort of students who will bring about meaningful and positive changes in the future,” said Dr. David Lee, Department Chair.

Noteworthy achievements were recognized during the event, including student presentations at prestigious research symposiums such as the American Public Health Association, receiving awards for their conference contributions, and securing esteemed fellowships like the Applied Epidemiology Fellowship from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. 

The Director of Public Health Education, Dr. Viviana Horigian, acknowledged the graduates' contributions as an integral part of the department’s continued success and expansion of its Graduate Programs.

“Your dedication to improving health disparities and increasing access for the underserved is helping to transform our health systems, and the environmental health and epidemiology research you’ve conducted will improve the quality of life for many individuals and prevent the spread of disease,” she said.

Dean Willy Prado at Graduation-Reception
Dr. Guillermo “Willy” Prado

Dr. Guillermo “Willy” Prado, Dean of the Graduate School, and former Ph.D. graduate of the department, also addressed the crowd. He congratulated the graduates and recognized their hard work. “You should all feel very proud of yourselves.” In his inspiring address, he urged the graduates to embrace academic risks and overcome imposter syndrome by reminding them, “You do belong.”

Beyond formal proceedings, the reception provided an opportunity for the graduates to foster connections with their peers and faculty members in a relaxed setting, extending their network beyond the confines of the classroom. As they embark on the next phase of their lives, DPHS is confident that these graduates will continue to make meaningful contributions. Their dedication to the field of public health, evident through their extensive accomplishments, will undoubtedly contribute to the betterment of society and the well-being of individuals and communities.

Graduation reception photo boothAs part of the celebration, the Delta Omega Honorary Society and the Public Health Student Association honored exceptional individuals in the department. Delta Omega promotes graduate studies in public health and celebrates outstanding achievements in the discipline. The student-run Public Health Student Association bridges faculty, staff, and students within the department, fostering connections and collaboration.

“You will leave your footprints wherever you go – consider the Department of Public Health Sciences your home,” concluded Dr. Horigian.

 Winners of the 2023 awards:

 Delta Omega:

  • Distinguished Mentorship – Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez
  • Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Nelson Arboleda
  • Outstanding Dedication – Katelyn McGuigan

Public Health Student Association (PHSA): 

  • Faculty Member of the Year – Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez
  • Teaching Assistant of the Year – Bria-Necole Amazing Diggs
  • Graduate Student of the Year – Ranya Marrakchi El Fellah 
  • Officer of the Year – Joann Seunarine
  • Staff Service – Ashley Gonzalez
Written by Deycha Torres Hernández
Published on May 12, 2023