Public Health “THANK YOU!” Day

Dear Eastern Community,

Today is November 22, 2021. That means it has been 20 months — almost two years, since COVID-19 altered the course of our community, culture, and our world. 

For most of us during this season, “doing our part” has looked like washing our hands, wearing our masks, practicing safe social distancing, and earlier on, staying in the comfort of our homes to keep ourselves and our families safe and healthy. 

But for public health workers, “doing their part” during the past 20 months of the pandemic has been much more extensive. 

On this “Public Health Thank You Day,” I want to set aside time as a community to honor the bravery, deep sacrifice, and the mental, emotional, and physical energy that our public health workers have selflessly offered our communities and our world as they’ve labored to “do their part” in ending the outbreak of COVID-19.

With Thanksgiving just three days away, I find it fitting to focus our hearts and minds on the blessings we’ve been given through these health workers and their response to the higher call of self-sacrifice for the good of others – no small call to answer.

I’m especially grateful for the health heroes found within our own Eastern community, including those in our Student Health Center, our Nursing department, our students in their clinical rotations, and our alumni working in healthcare around the world. Because of your commitment to faith, reason, and justice through public health, our world has received the love of Christ through your sacrifice.

Matthew 25 depicts Jesus’ words to his faithful followers at the end of time: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” 

The followers, confused, ask, “When did we do all of this for you?” 

The King answers, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

I am honored to be a part of this community that exemplifies Matthew 25 in reflecting the love of Christ through selflessly serving others.

To all of our public health workers: THANK YOU! May you know how grateful we all are for your service.

With gratitude and respect, 

Dr. Ronald A. Matthews