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Dean's Commentary with ColoradoSPH logo, image of Cathy Bradley, and mountain background

A Time for Celebration, Accolades, and Opportunities

minute read

Dear ColoradoSPH Community,

May is a celebratory time on campus, with convocation, awards ceremonies, the end of term and new beginnings. It is so rewarding to see our students celebrating their hard work and accomplishments, their faculty and research mentors beaming with pride, and our newest alumni stepping bravely into the world of public health. May is also a time of looking ahead to the transformative impact we will continue to make in the field of public health.

In her inspiring convocation address to the Class of 2024, Dr. Patricia Gabow, former CEO of Denver Health and Hospital Authority reminded us of the importance of courage in our journey as public health leaders. “You, like other leaders in the past, will need courage that will enable you to operationalize integrity and act on what you know is right even when it is not easy to do.” These words resonated deeply as we prepare our graduates to navigate the complexities of public health with determination and integrity. With this preparation, the Class of 2024 will walk confidently into the world and transform communities for the better.

May is also a time to reflect on our collective accomplishments as a school. Last month was marked by significant milestones, including the successful completion of the Stephen Berman MD, Endowed Chair of Global Health, the recognition of Dr. Susan Niermeyer, ColoradoSPH alumna, who received the prestigious Florence Rena Sabin, MD Award, and celebration of many students, faculty, staff, community partners, and alumni at our annual awards ceremonies.

Susan Niermeyer, MD, MPH received the 2024 Florence Rena Sabin Award from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She is a testament to the enduring legacy of leaders in public health. As a graduate of the Colorado School of Public Health in 2009, senior scientist in the school’s Center for Global Health, and a Professor Emerita of Pediatrics, Dr. Niermeyer exemplifies the spirit of innovation and collaboration that Dr. Sabin embodied nearly 75 years ago. Dr. Niermeyer became the first ColoradoSPH graduate to receive this distinguished honor. It’s important to note, Dr. Sabin led several public policy efforts that were foundational to the public health profession and practice in Colorado. She also courageously called for a school of public health for the state—a concept that was far ahead of the times. Collectively, Sabin’s legacy is present throughout the work of the school and is carried forward by our alumni, such as Dr. Niermeyer.

The establishment of the Stephen Berman MD, Endowed Chair of Global Health represents a significant milestone in our school’s history. With philanthropic gifts totaling more than $2M from The Jack and Sarita Gantz Foundation and other esteemed partners, this endowed chair honors the visionary leadership of Dr. Berman. He was a distinguished pediatrician and professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and was lauded for his leadership on numerous health care initiatives. Concurrently, Dr. Berman served as the director of the Center for Global Health at

ColoradoSPH from 2011 until his death in 2023, where he dedicated much of his time building the center’s programming and international influence. Through his pioneering efforts, Dr. Berman fostered collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and organizations to improve the health and well-being of underprivileged populations here and abroad. The school is now searching to identify the new center director and inaugural Berman chairholder who will be positioned for success because of this endowment.

We also had the pleasure of recognizing the outstanding contributions of our alumni at the 3rd Annual Alumni Awards event. Morgan Turner, Kelly “KC” Hall, and Sarah Lampe represent the diverse talents and passions of our alumni community. Turner was the recipient of the Rising Star in Public Health Practice Award, Hall received the Alumni Service Award, and Lampe was honored with the Alumni Achievement Award. Collectively, these alumni awardees have led public health organizations, championed greater housing and economic opportunity leading to better health outcomes, shaped state policy, and so much more. With 8,000+ alumni spanning the globe, ceremonies like these are a reminder of the accomplishments and contributions of our alumni.

As we continue to champion our school’s new vision, “Public Health Elevated. Rising Together for a Healthier Future for All,” there are many upcoming events where we can share the great work we are doing to redefine public health. We have a calendar full of events including Public Health in the Rockies in September in Keystone, new student orientation in August, and a school-wide volunteer opportunity this fall. There are countless ways to engage with our school and contribute to our shared mission of creating a healthier future for all.

I urge our faculty, staff, and students to embrace these opportunities and seize the chance to make a difference in the communities we serve. By strengthening our bonds and core values, we reinforce our commitment to public health and ensure our school remains at the forefront of positive change.

Together, let’s rise to the challenges ahead and elevate public health to new heights.

Topics: Deans Notes