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Dr. Raj Panjabi to Speak at Convocation


Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff, 

Spring is in the air, and that means we’ll soon see each other at convocation! Convocation is such an exciting time for our graduating students and their many supporters—I am so proud of them and cannot wait to celebrate all that they have achieved. 

This spring, convocation will be held on Wednesday, May 24, at 9 a.m. on Homewood Field at the Homewood campus. It will also be livestreamed. Inclement weather date is Thursday, May 25, at 5 p.m.  

I’m thrilled to share that our speaker will be distinguished alumnus Raj Panjabi, MD, MPH ’06. Dr. Panjabi is a physician, professor, epidemiologist, entrepreneur, and public servant. He was named by TIME in 2016 as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.  

Dr. Panjabi is currently serving on the White House National Security Council as the senior director for Global Health Security and Biodefense, supporting the president and the national security adviser in coordinating federal policy to prevent, prepare for, and respond to epidemics, pandemics, and other biological threats. Previously, Dr. Panjabi led the President's Malaria Initiative, working to protect hundreds of millions of people at risk of malaria across 30 countries in Asia and Africa.  

Dr. Panjabi was born and raised in Monrovia, Liberia. When he was 9, his family fled the country’s civil war on a rescue cargo plane, eventually coming to the U.S. as refugees. Later, as a medical student, he returned to Liberia to help rebuild the nation’s health system. Working with survivors of the war—and bolstered by his experience in our School’s Sommer Scholar Program—he cofounded Last Mile Health, an award-winning, nonprofit organization that saves lives in the world’s most remote communities.  

I know Dr. Panjabi will have wonderful insights and perspectives to share with our School community and the field of public health.  

As always, I am greatly looking forward to convocation—the joy and energy of this special day is an inspiration. I am excited to recognize the accomplishments of our graduates and celebrate what the future holds for them.  

Warmest wishes, 


Ellen MacKenzie Signature

Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75  

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor