Message from the Dean

February 2021

Craig BlakelyColleagues,

While 2021 started with great hope for compromise and functionality in Washington, that sense was quickly shattered when hundreds of POTUS 45 supporters stormed the Capitol building and disrupted the Congressional process of affirming the national vote tally.

In the weeks since that January 6 uprising, we have made incremental movement toward some potential collaboration occurring across the political aisle in favor of advancing a new agenda for the country.

All of this holds great promise for further advancements in the public health infrastructure, both nationally and internationally. Just one day into the new administration’s tenure, we rejoined the Paris Accords and WHO. The possibility of further advancements in access to healthcare and investments in public health is more real now than at any time in the last four years.

COVID-19 continues to reign heavy on our community, country, and world. But the two already sanctioned vaccines in the U.S. are finally beginning to lay the foundation for subsequent herd immunity. I personally have joined many other volunteers at the Fairgrounds to help advance that process. At times we have vaccinated about 200 residents of our community in a single hour. While these great strides will not likely impact our spring semester at UofL, we may be able to begin living a more traditional life at UofL next fall.

I have also participated in the local Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial. Early data have been extremely encouraging and, perhaps by the end of February, that vaccine will gain federal approval and contribute to accelerated access. The single dose vaccine that requires less extreme refrigeration will make distribution through smaller venues and in more rural settings much easier as well. 

When our turn comes to get vaccinated, we in public health need to visibly do our part. Thanks to all of you who are volunteering at any of these critical events that will collectively lead us to the end of this pandemic.

As we continue with spring semester, we will strive to remember that everyone remains in a very stressful setting, trying to make ends meet, working in a much more isolated setting that we are accustomed to, yet still committed to advancing our careers and capabilities. Please take every opportunity to share with us your concerns and stressors so that we may offer support.

Be safe, stay healthy, go Cards!

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Dr. Craig Blakely

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