An interesting week

This has been a very interesting week to be Dean of our School. One minute I was meeting with a student, another with a chair, reviewing a proposal the next, and then meeting with faculty, staff and students at Kenan-Flagler Business School, where I am chairing the dean search. Late at night, I edited chapters for the 4th edition of a textbook for which I am a co-author. In between, I was addressing many issues, some of them life and death challenges facing our faculty, students and staff. Sometimes, it feels like everyone here is part of an extended family, and I am related to them all. I really am troubled when bad things happen to people in the school. Sometimes, there seems to be too much of that, but it is balanced by lots of joy, too.

Last Friday, we had a truly fascinating discussion with Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Managing Director at the Rockefeller Foundation. I was struck by the convergence of our shared concerns about scaling up solutions to public health problems, training for the complexity of health and other systems in the 21st century, figuring out how to use new technologies to improve public health and disseminating evidence-based solutions to public health problems. They are doing some fascinating work and coming to many similar conclusions to those we have reached about what is needed. Check out the Pocantico II report, New Initiatives and Opportunities for Global Health, on their Web site.

We in public health should be asking ourselves what skills are needed for the 21st century. Can we move fast enough to transform yesterday’s curricula and strategies to fit today’s and tomorrow’s needs?

A Carolina Tidbit: I forgot to mention when I wrote about our visit to the UAE that when we were standing in line at the airport in Abu Dhabi, we looked behind us. There was a young man in a Carolina sweatshirt! Here we were in the Abu Dhabi airport, and there was someone in a Carolina shirt. Can we be much more global! We asked him if he went to Carolina, and he said he didn’t, but we got the feeling he liked the shirt or something about Carolina. Wish we had taken a picture and talked with him more about what Carolina meant to him.

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