Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh used his convocation address to the largest-ever class of Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) graduates to correct what he described as a flawed story line about his journey to the city’s highest office – and to appeal to the graduates to “aim high and set ambitious goals.”
[Photo: Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh]
The former state representative urged the graduates to use their skills to bridge the divide between clinicians and the community, and to emulate public health leaders such as Dr. Paul Farmer, who founded the humanitarian health organization Partners in Health, and Dr. Howard Koh, a BUSPH alumnus who is now Assistant Secretary for Health in the Obama administration.
“You can use the tools of public health to change the world,” Mr. Walsh said.
He appealed to the students – some who worked on public health issues in Boston during their studies – to view his administration as a “willing partner” in tackling problems such as addiction, trauma, and violence.
“We need you to help solve the greatest challenges that confront us,” he said. “We need your energy, we need your expertise, and we need your leadership.”
In April, a Public Health Working Group Transition Team, co-chaired by Dr. David Rosenbloom, head of the department of health policy and management, released a report recommending “immediate attention” to the two most pressing threats to the public health of city residents: addition and violence. Mr. Walsh recently announced the creation of a new Office of Recovery Services, under the oversight of the Boston Public Health Commission, which will work to improve existing addiction and recovery services.
“As public health professionals,” Mr. Walsh told the graduates, “you will be uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the medical and the recovery community. And I ask you for help in doing so.”
In all, 590 BUSPH students graduated in 12 different degree programs. The graduation ceremony included a short tribute to SPH Dean Robert Meenan, who is stepping down this year, after 22 years, to become a special assistant to BU President Robert A. Brown.
To read more about Mr. Walsh’s address, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2014/05/19/boston-mayor-walsh-to-busph-grads-we-need-your-energy/