Dr. Donna K. Arnett, professor and chair of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health delivered the commencement address on May 19 for the Class of 2014 at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
Dr. Arnett is no stranger to Minnesota, having served as a faculty member at the School of Public Health from 1994 to 2004. Her notable work from that time includes running the Minnesota Heart Survey, a population-based study whose results brought about policies that have helped Minnesota to become one of the most heart healthy states in the U.S.
Dr. Arnett, who has been a consistent advocate for improving public health, shared advice with graduates about the importance of cultivating “every day courage,” which she described as a learnable skill.
“There is the courage to try, to step up to the plate and create pioneering, innovative works in your fields. There is the courage to trust, to let go of the need to control and to have faith in the people around you. And there is the courage to tell, to raise difficult issues or share unpopular opinions.”
“When faced with day-to-day choices and challenges, and when fear begins to step in, we need to ask ourselves some guiding questions:
Answering these questions will sometimes be difficult, but in answering them honestly, I hope you’ll find the courage to accept a challenging new job, counter a critic who questions your data, trust in the support of your loved ones and defend a colleague whose been treated unfairly.”
Dr. Arnett’s address came to a close with inspiring words for this year’s graduates, “This is your moment! Public health needs your hard work, your ideas, and your leadership. I wish you the greatest success in your journey.”
More about 2014 Commencement at Minnesota: http://sph.umn.edu/students/current/commencement/