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An exceptional speech on The Challenges of Public Health - Read the whole speech beyond the slide
More than two years since this speech was delivered, our goals remain as elusive as ever, although we are inching forward. Each one of us has to be involved in this pursuit of the Millenium Development Goals to fight hunger, poverty, lack of educational and health facilities, safe water and sanitation, and gender discimination. So read on, who knows it may provoke you to action of some sort. Remarks by Helene Gayle, MD, MPH, President of CARE USA at the 28th Commencement of Boston University School of Public Health May 14, 2006 Thank you, Dean Meenan. I am honored to be invited here today. Your soon to be thirty years of service on the faculty here at Boston University truly shows your dedication to medicine and public health. I was once told that the trick to a good commencement speech was to have a good beginning, have a good ending, and to have the two as close together as possible. So I will be brief because for that reason and because the best advice all of you are going to receive today will not come from me, the person standing in front of you, but it will come as it always has from the people sitting behind you whose wisdom, guidance and sacrifice have helped make this day a reality. So, before we go any further, let's hear it for your parents, your families, your loved ones . . . Decades from now, I am sure you will remember this day. You will probably remember the time you spend with your families and friends, the mixed emotions as you leave behind one experience and move on the next and you will probably especially remember the parties you go to tonight. But I accept the fact that many of you will not remember the speech you are about to hear or even me your speaker. Still, despite the often ephemeral impact of a commencement speech, I took seriously the challenge of trying to impart something that might stick at least a few minutes after I sit down, because my life was changed by a graduation speech. To be fair, it wasn't a speech given at any of my graduations. I too have very little recollection of them. It was a speech given at my brother's commencement by Dr. D. A. Henderson. As many of you know, he was one of the leaders of the worldwide campaign to eradicate smallpox. As I listened to him, I was simply awed by the audacity of the effort he described. Using the tools of public health, he helped lead the effort that took smallpox -- a disease that is estimated to have claimed over 500 million lives since the time of the Pharaohs - and wiped it from the face of the earth. I was in medical school at the time and had been toying with the notion of a career in public health, but not sure I had a good understanding of what that meant. It was one of those ah hah moments, when my vague notions came into sharper focus. Then and there, I realized that I could use my career to impact social change by working to improve the health of people around the world. And, so for the past 20 plus, that's what I've been doing - first at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ... and then at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation... and, as of last month, as the head of CARE. So, I've taken on some challenging roles throughout my career and I will say something about them. But what there is something more important than the things I will say or the story you hear - and that's the story you can write. So let me offer some thoughts to take with you on the journey. You are graduating today into a world of paradoxes. We begin this young century with more millionaires and billionaires than ever before, and yet half the world's people are struggling on less than $2 a day; a billion live on less than one dollar a day. A billion of the world's adults cannot read. And more than a billion people have no access to something as simple as safe drinking water. In our own country, the gap between affluence and poverty is growing. In a recent study of 17 of the most industrialized, market-economy countries in the world, the US had the highest poverty rate and highest child poverty rate by significant margins. Look at Hurricane Katrina - yes, the hurricane caused one tragedy, but it also exposed another. The people who lacked the social mobility to get out of poverty were the ones who lacked the physical mobility to get out of harms' way. And if our one defining characteristic as a nation is the desire for each generation to do better than the last, it is a sad commentary that in 2005, more women filed for bankruptcy than graduated from college. Add to that the increasingly partisan nature of our political landscape, the global threat of terrorism, and an intractable a war in Iraq - and the picture painted is of a world that is more distant and divided than ever before. Yet, at the same time, we are also closer and more connected than ever. As SARS and the Avian Flu remind us: microbes (and birds) don't stop at borders. As the devastating tsunamis in South Asia and th303
Thursday March 4th So I had the day off today. My schedule got a little weird since Brandi and I planned our days off as a Monday to Friday 30 hour work week. Finance, on the other hand considers a work week to be Thursday to Wednesday so they made me take an extra day off this "week" and work another day next week. Oh well. Since Brandi didn't have to work until 3:00 we decided to do a bunch of things today. In the morning Brandi took Isobel down to the courtyard while I swept and vacuumed as the realtor was going to be coming today to take pictures of the apartment for the owners posting. She apparently had some issues with the door buzzer. I'll have to give it a shot and see key by key how to buzz up. It seems like the kind of straight forward thing and we've ordered food recently so we know it's working. Our vacuum was hella-disgusting after I cleaned up some dirt. It really needed a good cleaning so I took it on to our balcony and dumped it into a bag. Yuck. After cleaning a little bit we headed out for a walk. First stop was Imperial where we got the Smallworld board game on Dave's recommendation. I've also seen Leo playing it and he seemed pretty keen. Dave said he and his 8 year old play the 2 player version and it's pretty fun. Popped into Kinko's to get the card for my World's Finest figure copied. Oakley was kind enough to lend me the card. Got lunch at the mall and headed into Toys R Us to find a dump truck for Isobel to offset the pink stroller and ended up walking out with a Little People house, a mini dump truck and on the way past Jysk Brandi got distracted by this little ball house. Isobel fell asleep on the way home and slept through the realtor's visit. I got to snuggle in bed with Brandi for a good 10 minutes without be interrupted by a little baby!!! Brandi left for work and Isobel woke up after about an hour and a half nap. We played with her toy house and the ball house before hopping into a big bubble bath. She kept shaking all the bubbles off her hands like she didn't like the bubbles that thick or something. She started getting sleepy around 7 so we crawled into bed. I think she was just tricking though since she too about an hour to actually go to sleep (I had to restart the sleepy sheep and it's got a 45 minute timer). I snuck out and played some World of Warcraft while half paying attention to Escape from LA. Now I'm probably going to hit the hay.
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