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Dean Cathy Bradley

Looking Toward 2024 and Taking a Breath

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Written by Dr. Cathy Bradley on December 19, 2023

As I write the final Dean’s note of 2023, I, like all of you, am longing for an end to war and a beginning to solutions that will end international and domestic problems – many of which fall under public health. Therefore, I am going to share a few thoughts about how we can approach fulfilling the promise of public health, starting with our school, and including volunteering our time and giving to causes important to us.

Before we approach 2024, I encourage us all to take a breath. In Colorado, taking a breath can be forced on us by a quick jaunt up the stairs. Taking a breath is also something we intentionally do to center ourselves, focus on the task at hand, and pause before giving in to impulse. Taking a breath gives us the extra boost of energy we need to take on hard problems and it gives us space to see the bigger picture rather than the moments in front of us. Taking a breath also gives us the grace to say ‘thank you’ or to ask a clarifying question.

I mention the practice of taking a breath because we have important tasks ahead and exciting challenges that will give us the breathless feel of giving it our all to accomplish something meaningful. In 2024, we will craft new vision, mission, and values statements that will help define who we are. We will develop a strategic plan that will guide our priorities, actions, and investments. As soon as we complete our school’s national reaccreditation in February, it will be time to think about curriculum redesign. We will welcome new leaders and people who will become mentors in our school and in the public health community. And with each new addition, there is an opportunity to strengthen our culture and infuse the values we share. All of this will be happening in a school that is already vibrant and growing in size and reputation.

It is our culture to engage in thoughtful reflection, invite people into conversations, embrace risks, and implement changes that show courage and make a positive difference in the health and well-being of others. Throughout this process, we will remind ourselves we can make our school the place we want it to be, our world a better place to be, and that it is a privilege to be part of this community. We have the opportunity to make a lasting impact and generate the solutions much needed here and throughout the world.

In the spirit of fostering a culture that extends beyond institutional goals, this is a time when we also make personal goals and commitments. Following this tradition, I have set personal goals for myself. The Colorado School of Public Health is critically important to me, therefore some of my personal goals include the school. I am setting up a scholarship fund at the end of the year that will be accessible to eligible students in the fall.

I also have a goal to increase my commitment to philanthropy in the community. As many of you know, much of my research is about the financial burden of cancer and its treatment that disproportionately affects people from historically marginalized communities. To address the immediate needs of people who have been diagnosed with cancer and are unable to make ends meet, I volunteer my time as a board member of the Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation of Colorado and do whatever I can to support the organization. No doubt most of you engage in similar types of activities to support your communities and if you do not, I encourage you to do so – even in small ways. Every person’s contribution of time or resources makes an impact.

It's time to bring in 2024. Take a breath – a deep breath. Rejuvenate. As we ready ourselves to shape a better future for our school, our communities, and the world at large, we will do so with optimism and in our Colorado School of Public Health style. I look forward to catching up with everyone in the New Year. Cheers!


Cathy Bradley, PhD
Dean & Professor, Colorado School of Public Health
Deputy Director, University of Colorado Cancer Center

Topics: Deans Notes