Like many in our community and around the world, I am devastated by this week’s events in the Middle East. I am horrified by the brutality of Hamas’s terrorist attacks on Israel, which included massacres and abductions of unarmed civilians, including children. I am also deeply concerned that war will bring suffering and loss to millions in the region and move the world further away from an end to the long-standing conflict.
In reflecting on the weight of these events, I have drawn strength from the work here at the School. The Center for Public Health and Human Rights reminds us that there are rules to war that require minimizing civilian casualties and damage to the health care system, and it is vital that these be respected by all sides. The Center for Humanitarian Health teaches us that we must be concerned about the short- and long-term impacts of displacement for large numbers of civilians in Israel and Gaza, including their physical safety, mental health, and access to food, medical supplies, clean water, and other public health necessities.
More personally, from my own decades of work with wounded soldiers and the Department of Defense, I have embraced this basic truth: Peace is foundational to health. May our world embrace this truth as well.
Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor