In their communications with Global Health Scholars, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the Office of the Provost pledged to continue supporting the program.
In a February column in the News, the Global Health Scholars expressed their concerns for the future of the program in light of the upcoming departure of Elizabeth Bradley, who founded the program and currently serves as the chair of the Global Health Scholars faculty advisory committee as well as the faculty director of the Global Health Leadership Institute. Over the past weeks, the students communicated with the Office of the Provost and Jackson Institute, even meeting with Jackson’s Director James Levinsohn on Tuesday. Both bodies reassured the students that the program will not fall into disrepair after Bradley’s departure and pledged to maintain current funding levels.
“The program is in wonderful shape,” Levinsohn said. “Betsy Bradley has done a marvelous job building it, and I don’t foresee any big changes next year.”
Bradley announced in January that she will depart Yale at the end of the academic year to assume the presidency at Vassar College.
The Global Health Scholars program, a multidisciplinary academic program housed in the Jackson Institute, allows students to study pressing global health issues and conduct their own independent projects. Scholars in the program were concerned that after Bradley’s departure at the end of this academic year, the program will not have as much support.
“[Bradley] has created and directed much of Yale’s global health infrastructure, and she has been its strongest advocate for many years,” said Joseph Cornett ’17, a Global Health Scholar. “We were therefore unsure, but also optimistic, about the future of Yale’s global health initiatives in the absence of her influence.”
Omair Khan ’19, another Global Health Scholar, said that the students’ concerns mentioned in the column were more than valid because there was no information about the program’s transition at the time. He added that first-year and newly admitted students interested in applying to the program expressed similar concerns to him.
Kristina Talbert-Slagle GRD ’10, the program’s current director, also said that the students’ concerns “make sense” considering the transition that will follow after Bradley’s departure. She added that she was glad to see the attention the students paid to the program, which she credited to their commitment.
In response to the students’ concerns, the Office of the Provost pledged to continue funding the program at the current levels, according to Bradley. In an interview with the News, Levinsohn said he is thinking about expanding the program and has already contacted colleagues at the School of Public Health, the Law School and the School of Nursing.
“We’ll use the next year to start to think about changes to the program that might make it even stronger,” he said.
According to Bradley, the provost’s support for the program “has been strong,” and he has asked Deans of Public Health, Nursing and Medicine to submit proposals for the future of global health at Yale in general.
Cornett said that the students were thankful for the provost’s and Jackson’s “responsiveness to students’ committed interest” in the program. He added that the students were particularly excited about the program forging stronger ties with other professional schools, as it would expand the course and mentorship opportunities for undergraduates.
Chloe Yee ’18, a Global Health Scholar, said that the program has recently formed a Student Advisory Committee with representatives from each class year and that the committee is looking forward to continuing working with both students and staff members to ensure the program’s ongoing success. Talbert-Slagle said that she plans to meet with the group regularly, as well as periodically meeting with all scholars in the program.
Stephen Stearns ’67, a member of the faculty advisory committee for the program, said since the program will continue receiving the same funding as before, there is little danger that it will be eliminated. He added that the program will need someone like Bradley who understands “how things work at Yale.”
“The key to the continued success of the program will be finding someone who will be a worthy successor, someone who takes ownership of the program and sees their own success identified with the success of the program,” he said. “Until such a person is found, concern is justified.”
The Global Health Leadership Institute was founded in 2009.