To Every Season...
When I lived in Southern California, I missed the changing of the seasons.
The soft and lush colors of the tulips, the azaleas, the dogwoods and the magnolias are magnificent in Baltimore in the spring, and the bright reds, oranges and varied browns of fall, though totally different, are equally exciting. Somehow it just didn't seem right in California to be pulling weeds in my recently sprinkled green lawn just before the December holiday season.
I like transitions, and that is fortunate because the Bloomberg School of Public Health is never a static environment. This year, we graduated 568 students, welcomed 300 new Master of Public Health students on July 1, installed five new named professorships, and appointed two new department chairs—Ellen MacKenzie, PhD '79, MSc '75, for Health Policy and Management, and David Holtgrave, PhD, for Health, Behavior and Society.
But this fall, we are making a big transition. As this magazine goes to press, Al Sommer is stepping down as dean of the School after 15 remarkable years, and Mike Klag is stepping in as the School's 10th dean. Leadership has a powerful impact here. Despite the growth the School has seen over the last several decades, it is still something of a "walk about" environment, and the ethos of the dean is palpable. I have always teased Al Sommer that he has the personality of a surgeon—he assesses situations intuitively and makes decisions quickly and forcefully. I haven't spent much time yet with Mike Klag, but to me he has the style of the internist—he listens attentively, weighs the evidence carefully, does his differential diagnosis and then confidently makes his decision.
But, as this issue of the magazine reflects, both of these leaders, although distinct as individuals, share a deep and passionate commitment to improving global health, to addressing the health inequities that plague the world, to maintaining the highest standards of excellence in research, practice and education, and to thinking innovatively. And, each is willing to make tough decisions to ensure that the School is the premier institution it has always been— and that it is achieving its global mission to protect health and save lives...millions at a time. As you read about each man (on pages 6 and 18), I hope you too will find this time of transition as renewing as the changing of the seasons and a testament to the unique and powerful institution that the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is and has always been.