Visit from Cambridge University
Last week, a delegation from England’s Cambridge University (particularly its Institute for Public Health) visited the School to discuss a number of topics. It was stimulating and interesting to explore the ways we are both similar and different. How faculty members are appointed there is quite different, and it is more difficult to create new faculty positions. But it is a right of faculty to take sabbaticals every seven years.
We talked about our different health systems and how they are becoming more alike. That’s really unfortunate, because England used to have a model health care system—not perfect but a good model. We covered a lot of other territory as well. They’ve got some great programs, and so do we.
World of Difference Dinner
Every year, we host a dinner to thank our most generous donors for their contributions and support of the School. This year’s event was especially moving to me—and to many in attendance. Frank Stasio, of WUNC, hosted, and he was excellent—created a real sense of community and intimacy. We gave Pranab K. Sen, PhD a special chair to recognize the distinguished chair he and his wife Gauri generously created to enable a biostatistics faculty member from a developing country to serve as a visiting faculty member for up to one semester. Dr. Sen is an interesting, accomplished man who came here from India in 1965, and in 1982, was made the Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor. He’s published over 600 papers and been on dissertation committees for 82 students. These are truly awesome accomplishments. After Dr. Sen, three students spoke, telling stories about how they got here, and what scholarships have meant for them. As always, they were composed, articulate and impressive. Many of us reflected on the fact that we were not that self-assured when we were their ages.
Philanthropy is more important to our School than ever before, as the state reduces its share of the School’s budget, and Federal sources decrease. As I looked out on the hundreds of people in the room Thursday night, I was appreciative of my great fortune to be dean of this School and so grateful to our many friends in that room who had contributed to us over the past year, and in many cases, year after year. I’ve gotten to know many of these people, and that too, is a blessing and benefit of being dean.
I’m off to Austin, Texas to meet with some of our alumni and present at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) conference. Happy Monday! Barbara