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From the Dean
What legacy will we leave?

How effectively we identify and respond to the health challenges of today will influence how healthy the public is tomorrow. Ours is a discipline built on prevention and action, and our prevention and treatment of new emerging infections will lessen the impact of those diseases on subsequent generations. Our research about health behaviors may identify and correct unhealthy habits. Our tackling of issues associated with chronic disease will affect the ability of our country, indeed our world, to cover costs associated with long-term illnesses. The policies we make today will be the health legacy that we leave to our children and grandchildren.

Our cover story in this issue examines one particular public health challenge––that of moderate and severe malnutrition. More than 138 million of the world’s children are undernourished, a staggering condition UNICEF calls our “silent emergency.” Our researchers in the Department of International Health are giving voice to this crisis by gathering the hard data to design effective interventions and inform policies. One of their many important findings is that the impact of early nutrition extends far beyond childhood, and they are documenting a link between childhood nutrition and growth, cognitive development, chronic adult health, even economic potential.

In this issue, we also present a new collaboration between public health, government, and religion to improve the health of communities. This partnership forges a new way of working together on prevention, bringing together government funding, public health expertise, and the local knowledge and social capital of faith communities.

Much of the success of our partnerships and research relies on how well we communicate the messages of prevention. Our third feature looks at the new programs and courses developed by our faculty to train current graduate students and mid-career public health professionals and journalists to be effective health communicators. The legacy of these programs will be a public that is better informed and empowered.

In public health, our actions have consequences that span lifetimes, and we have a responsibility to carefully consider what we want to leave behind. Our legacy should be built not only on good intentions but also on an integrated system of sound research, prevention, effective policies, and continual monitoring. At the Rollins School of Public Health, we are committed to building a healthy future by acting today.

James W. Curran, MD, MPH

Spring 2003 Issue | In Brief | The Legacy of Childhood Nutrition | Strong Partners
This News Could Save Your Life | An idea, of SORTS | Class Notes
Rollins School of Public Health

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