Message from Dean Coben: Welcome to the start of a new year, bound together by a common goal

Dean Coben stands for a photo in a window-lined hallway, wearing a dark jacket and maroon button-down shirtDear Public Health Students, Faculty and Staff:

I’m delighted to welcome you to the start of the 2021-22 academic year at the WVU School of Public Health. I hope the semester is off to a smooth start for everyone.

To our students, particularly those of you who are newcomers this year, I congratulate you on the decision to pursue a degree in the field of public health – a choice that speaks volumes to who you are as a person and what you believe is important.

We’re all bound together by a common goal: wanting to help people. While there are many different paths in life that lead to fulfilling that goal, you all have chosen one that is critical to our world right now – and the world sees that, too. I hope this gives you a source of immense pride and inspiration, as it does for me.

As we move forward together this semester, I want to thank you, in advance, for demonstrating to our community what it means to be leaders in public health as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether you’re a first-year student or a seasoned academic, as members of the School of Public Health, we can all play a leading role on campus and within our surrounding communities by modeling the ideal behaviors: getting vaccinated; wearing a mask, especially indoors (even if you’re vaccinated); physical distancing; practicing good hygiene; and being tested if any symptoms appear. Staying informed is equally important, as university guidelines are driven by a variety of factors and, as a result, can evolve quickly.

Ultimately, we’re all in this together. And there’s no one else I’d rather be ‘in it’ with. Our caring, inviting culture is one of the most distinctive characteristics of our school. Let’s continue to build and leverage that as we move forward together, helping each other along the way.

Stay safe and be well.


/ Jeffrey H. Coben, MD

Dean, School of Public Health

Associate Vice President for Health Affairs

West Virginia University