Public Health Deans Retreat—to advance!

Saturday, I returned from the annual Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Deans’ Retreat. This year, 46 of 48 deans attended. When I started as dean in 2005, we all could sit around a U shaped table. Now, we require a larger room with numerous round tables to accommodate the growing number of schools and deans. My respect for Harrison Spencer, MD, MPH, ASPH President, has grown over the years; he does an excellent job!  I like the fact the deans can collaborate and be collegial, knowing that we also are competitors. It’s great to share issues, experiences and practices with other deans. In spite of differences between our schools, we have a lot in common. There was a lot of talk about budgets and budget cuts. UNC-Chapel Hill clearly has been on the more profound end of cuts compared to other schools. Yet, our state contribution still is larger than most other states. I dislike the speed with which deans are replaced. By the time I get to know someone, they are often moving on.

This year’s meeting was in Montreal. I spent about six hours getting there Tuesday and nearly 12 hours returning home Saturday (flight cancelled). I had about two hours to explore Montreal; rest of the time, it was meetings all day. At night, I caught up on work from our School. McGill University, which I passed on my city walk, has magnificent architecture. I also walked by the Basilica of Notre-Dame—impressive.

Montreal has an awesome bicycle rental system that is all over the city. A person can rent a bike one place and return it to another. The city has a much smarter approach to bike lanes and bike safety than we do. Everywhere, people were riding. (Wish I had time to try biking there.) Montrealers seem thinner and fitter than we are; the average person in the airport appeared to be heading off to go hiking. There’s also a more visible culture of sustainability.

Congratulations to all the gay couples who wed in NYC Sunday.

Stay cool and happy Monday! Barbara

Tagged  ASPH, BIXI, fitness, obesity

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