College of Population Health Dean’s Letter

Headshot of Tracie Collins

American universities are in the midst of an unprecedented experiment. The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping how we think about higher education as we strive to balance the twin requirements of maintaining instructional quality while keeping students safe.

The College of Population Health is responding to these challenges by building a hybrid curriculum that relies on virtual instruction to minimize the risk of exposing students to the virus while also providing for some face-to-face encounters in the recognition that some things simply can’t be done remotely. We are confident that these measures will enable us to continue providing the high-quality education our students expect and deserve.

The tragic human costs and the pervasive societal and cultural disruptions wrought by the pandemic cannot be understated, but if there is a silver lining it is to be found in the strong partnership that has emerged between the public health sector and health care delivery systems. Here in New Mexico, public and population health leaders worked hand in hand with clinical providers to lessen the strain on the health care system, meaning fewer people required hospitalization or ICU care.

Our graduates have been on the front lines of the public health response to the pandemic from the start. They emerged from our program equipped with unique skills for addressing health emergencies and disparities, including an ability to bring together diverse stakeholders to achieve common health goals.

Our College is only a few years old, and it will continue to grow while adapting to this new educational landscape. Our strategic goals that express our aims. We will:

  • Foster excellent education and conduct impactful research and community engagement;
  • Act with respect and show compassion for all;
  • Provide safe, high-quality, accessible service in all missions;
  • Ensure a high-performing organization guided by integrity, transparency, accountability and financial stewardship;
  • Improve health, research and education outcomes for our diverse communities, internally and externally, and
  • Promote open communication, trust, inclusion and advocacy.

One thing has become clear: the College of Population Health was built for times like these. In this complex and ever-changing world, our graduates will have a vital role to play in shaping our future and influencing population health.

Tracie Collins, MD, MPH, MHCD
Dean, UNM College of Population Health