2020 beyondIt’s no secret that 2020 was a year like no other. The UAB School of Public Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic:

At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health (SOPH)’s Director of Development, Ebony Harris, joined the team and quickly shifted to remote work while finding creative ways to continue fostering important relationships with donors and alumni of the SOPH. Although many “regular” alumni engagement initiatives were forced to be placed on pause during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the SOPH still met with dozens of alums in Alabama and across the nation via phone and Zoom and held several Alumni & Donor Town Halls.

In addition to alumni engagement, the School of Public Health maintained efforts towards its mission: to make positive and lasting change in the public’s health, in ways different than those pre-COVID. Many of the school’s faculty were interviewed by both local and national media, answering critical public health questions related to COVID-19 and their expertise. Dean Erwin and other School of Public Health leaders were a part of both the UA System and various UAB task forces who made decisions on safety protocols for students, faculty, and staff, including providing science-based guidance for a safe return to campus.

The school’s efforts during the COVID-19 Pandemic have contributed to a great deal of visibility for the field of public health, in addition to growth within the school. At UAB, enrollment in the School of Public Health rose 61% in the 2020 calendar year compared with 2019, including a 92% increase in enrollment in the school's graduate programs in epidemiology. Learn more by reading a recent UAB News article covering the school’s growth in addition to growth in the field of public health.

Looking ahead:

2021 began with a new addition to the SOPH Alumni Affairs team, including the hire of an Alumni Affairs Specialist, Sarah Hendren. Hendren joined the School of Public Health eager to support the great work that Dean Paul Erwin and Ebony Harris have already achieved, and ready to launch new initiatives in alumni relations.

The team is excited to offer a few events in the remainder of the year. Beginning in July, a series of five Diversity, Equity and Inclusion courses will be offered to Alumni of the SOPH. Space will be limited, and it’s recommended that attendees register for all sessions as topics build on each other. Registration for these sessions is required and available through the SOPH’s Event Calendar. The Alumni Affairs team also hopes to schedule a handful of “Meet the Chair” sessions in the Fall. More information to come.

The school’s Alumni Advisory Board has continued to gain momentum and sustain strong alumni engagement throughout 2020. The board hopes to reinstate the Mock Interview Program as well as several new exciting activities that will allow graduates to engage with current students and faculty in the months to come.

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