Letter from the Chair, Spring Semester 2017

Dear students, staff and faculty,

Photo: Dr. Leslie Lytle

Dr. Lytle

Welcome back to the spring semester, 2017. It is hard to believe that the 2016 academic year is half over and that soon many of us will be planning graduation celebrations! I’ve always enjoyed the rhythm of the academic year; there is an ebb and flow to it that seems to match nature with its beginnings and ends, and lots of growth and excitement in between.

Spring semester is always busy with Capstone-related events including Capstone Pitch day where the first year MPH students get to choose their community projects for the coming year and Capstone Celebration day where our second year MPH students present the fruits of their labor to each other, the faculty and our community partners. (Did you know that health behavior students contribute over 23,000 hours of work to community partners who host practicum students or Capstone teams?)

Spring also brings the Minority Health Conference. It is a highlight for the entire school and an event where our department’s students take center stage in organizing and planning the conference. The Career Information and Networking Conference, the Foard Lecture and the annual award ceremony also happen in the spring, providing us a good chance to see our alumni and celebrate the rich heritage of Health Behavior. The Health Behavior website provides the dates and other event-specific details.

Spring is also admissions season and both our masters and doctoral admissions committees are already very busy reviewing applications. More than one hundred prospective students have applied to our MSPH and PhD program and we have received hundreds of applications to our MPH program.   The number of applicants to our programs and the quality of the applicants shows the strong reputation of our training programs. We will invite current students to speak to admitted students about our programs; we are always proud to have our students represent the Department of Health Behavior!

We will continue our department work on inclusion and diversity this spring semester by beginning a series of brown bag lunches and open discussions with our external liaison and colleague, Dr. Debby Stroman. In addition, we are working on our new SAKAI site for posting information and facilitating discussion on inclusion and diversity issues. The student-led Institutional Equity Committee (IEC) is planning to hold biweekly meetings this semester on Wednesdays from 11:30am-1pm in MHRC 3100. The first meeting will be January 25th.

The latest issue of Health Behavior Matters is still available online. If you haven’t seen it take a look at news and stories about faculty, students and alumni from the fall. I encourage alumni to sent updates to HBnews, and encourage everyone to let Judith Winkler, our communications director, know about upcoming events and news for our next newsletter. We want to celebrate success and news from across our network!

On a final note, I know that many of us are concerned about what the new year may bring. So much of what happens in the world is beyond our control. But, rather than feel helpless, I would encourage each of us to recognize the goodness that we see in each other as a sure sign of hope and to remember that tolerance, kindness and compassion start with how we treat our families, friends, peers, colleagues and the strangers that we interact with each day.


Leslie Lytle, professor and chair of the Department of Health Behavior