Just so you know, I meant Matt not math, and it’s personal but I hope you’ll continue reading. However, to confuse you further, I really like Andrew Yang’s lapel pin MATH: Make America Think Harder. This is a time to think harder while we scrub longer.
The Covid-19 virus changed our way of living, seemingly overnight, and mandates distancing ourselves to combat this hidden enemy. While we isolate, we dare not insulate ourselves from our hurting world and planet. A tenacious virus compels us to consider the health and well-being of we, since it’s not just about me or you. We’re also challenged to think hard about what we value, who we care about and how we allocate funds. This heightened focus on we brings me back to Dr. Matthew Willis. Matt represents one of many who serve in the often undervalued and underfunded area of Public Health.
A STORY TO TELL
It happened about twenty years ago in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Matt, my son-in-love, sat with a small, diverse group of graduate students on their side of the aisle. All were about to receive an advanced degree. Matt and his cadre anticipated a Master’s Degree in Public Health. Public health matters, as we’re late in learning. An MPH credentialed some internationals in Matt’s class to return to their countries as the voice of public health.
Across the aisle, rows of men and women awaited their MBA from Harvard’s prestigious School of Business. What took place next symbolized, for me, the aisle-wide divide between rich and poor. Some called it a tradition, I can only hope it was a last minute attempt at humor, and I love to laugh. After they announced the degrees for a Master of Public Health, some on the MBA side of the aisle folded, then hurled dollar bills. They flew like paper airplanes across a great divide.
Today, Matt joins multiplied thousands of men and women, serving on the front lines of public health. Their positions require making tough decisions regarding prevention and the spread of disease. They’re women and men, trained as scientists, technicians, administrators, elected officials, doctors, nurses, aides, and volunteers, working to defend us. They’re also an undervalued band of immigrants who do the laundry, clean surfaces and haul away refuse and biological hazards, All for the public’s health.
In times like these, it’s important to pray for and appreciate some of our real live action figures. Too many, this day or night, will try to catch a few winks of sleep at odd hours, scrub already raw hands, then do the work they’re called or paid to do without recognition or thanks, with one exception.
Thank you, Matt.
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