Dear UC Global Health Institute Community,
As a lifelong student and educator, the Fall season has always been my version of the new year. It is a wonderful time for reflection and new beginnings. This school year, I have the special honor of starting as the new Director of the UC Global Health Institute. After officially starting on July 1st, I have spent the last three months learning—about all of the wonderful work of UCGHI’s centers, programs, and people. In this special edition of the newsletter, we will highlight just a few of the amazing projects at the Institute. I have listened to recommendations for new projects, programs, and ways to connect better within and outside of our existing community as well as strengthen existing projects and programs. I also have the pleasure of transitioning into this role just as UCGHI has transitioned officially into it’s new home in the UC Office of the President under the University of California Health division. Working with the University of California Health team has been an honor.
The year ahead will be focused on continuing and celebrating our existing centers and programs, launching a new systemwide Master’s Student Stipend (MASS) Program, and cultivating old and new relationships. One of our exciting projects is to redesign our website to fully capture work and people of the Institute. Importantly, in a few months we will launch a formal strategic planning process to ask ourselves the difficult questions:
- Who are we as an organization?
- Are we making our desired impact locally and globally?
- Whom have we excluded in our work and how do we work towards true collaboration and be more inclusive?
- What is our way forward?
In my reflections, I would be remiss not to mention the immense stressors that all of us continue to face. The ongoing pandemic with its health and economic effects, active wars, environmental catastrophes, racial injustice…the list remains grim. Those who have been historically excluded are even more affected. In the moments where I feel the most distressed, I feel very grateful to be in the field of global health. While we have our own reckoning to contend with, to me, global health decreases our isolation, gives us purpose, and allows us a little hope. Learning, unlearning, being in community are the core principles of our work, all with the purpose of advancing health equity for all. And our global health learners are so prepared: open to learning and open to challenging. The work we must do and the people I get to do the work with are what allow me to continue to move forward. I look forward to learning from and with all of you in the year ahead.
Madhavi Dandu, MD, MPH