Former Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Howard Koh Spoke as Keynote for CGPH’s 2016 Commencement Ceremony

Dr. Howard K. Koh, MPH, Former Assistant Secretary of Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shared a few opening remarks about the field of public health at the 2016 commencement ceremony — our first as the College of Global Public Health.

Dr. Howard K. Koh is the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Kennedy School. He has previously served as the 14th Assistant Secretary for Health for HHS (2009-2014) after being nominated by President Barack Obama, and as Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1997-2003) after being appointed by Governor William Weld. A graduate of Yale College and the Yale University School of Medicine, he has trained at Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, has earned board certifications in 4 medical fields, held major academic positions at Boston University and Harvard University, published more than 250 articles in the medical and public health literature and has received over 70 awards for accomplishments in public health, as well as five honorary doctorate degrees.

During his inaugural address at the 2016 graduation ceremony, he offered 3 guiding principles that might help CGPH graduates in the days ahead:

  1. What do you find unacceptable where you could lead change for good?
  2. What is it I’ve been called to do?
  3. What will you do everyday to encourage the heart? Because your personal and professional success will ultimately depend on how you treat each and every person you encounter every day.

“If you are like me you will not find yourself choosing your future but being chosen”, Dr. Koh said during his address to the 2016 graduates. “If you are like me you will be called to pursue passions and missions that over time seep into your soul and won’t let go. If you are like me you will feel called to serve in a way you never could have planned. As you travel your path, please pay attention to your own inner soul so that you too may discover your true calling. Your journey at NYU will be all worth it if you discover your path and heed your calling. It has been said that the two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you discover why you were born.”

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