A Public Health Epidemic?

Sekou Andrews speaking at the 2014 U-M SPH graduation ceremony

Now there's an idea!

With dazzling speed, wit, rhythm, and rhyme, the 2015 U-M SPH commencement speaker - poetic voice and storyteller Sekou Andrews - offered a new take on the practice of public health during the school's May 2 graduation ceremonies in Ann Arbor. Andrews brought a crowd of 2000+ (among them over 300 members of the SPH Class of 2015) to its feet with his bold idea: that public health is its own outbreak. Here's how he began:

Ladies and gentlemen,

Faculty and staff,
Parents, and grandparents and friends
And play sisters,
And 3rd cousins on the father's side
And little babies who have
no idea why they're here

And the graduating class of 2015
I welcome you

I am here today for one reason

To update you on the status
of the public health outbreak

that is spreading across this nation
at an alarming rate.

It is fierce, and quiet,
and it is reaching epidemic proportions
faster than we can keep up

Reports are still coming in, daily,
from every state

Like the recent reports
of a woman in Santa Ana, CA

who is transmitting
chronic illness education door to door
throughout her local neighborhoods
In Washington, the outbreak
has apparently gone airborne, 

where a policymaker is mutating
the strain of health care costs
on the country

A local college professor
is reportedly using an app to spread
pathogens of purpose
to entire digital populations

The damage these cases are doing
to blight and affliction is staggering

There is a husband and wife team
casting a net of safety
over sub-Saharan Africa 

and completely undoing
all the hard work that malaria has put
into infecting people in the region

Everywhere we look,
we are finding cases of
these infectious agents of public health

whose impact on local
and global communities

is somehow managing to go more viral
than cat videos and Kardashian clips.