2022年度学位授与式 公衆衛生学研究科修士課程修了生代表 答礼のことば（2023年3月10日）
Sawako Funatomi, Master of Public Health Student Representative, Graduate School of Public Health
I would like to thank President Horiuchi and Dean Takahashi for your warm messages. And I would also like to thank all the faculty members and university staff for having such a wonderful graduation ceremony. I am very honored to be given this opportunity to express the gratitude from the 2022 graduates of the Master of Public Health at St. Luke's International University.
We entered St. Luke's International University Graduate School of Public Health during an unprecedented pandemic. Throughout our student life, we have witnessed the devastation that victimized so many people and the process of spreading the new normal way of life. We have also witnessed the efforts of researchers worldwide in creating new drugs and vaccines and controlling the pandemic. This global disaster has taught us the significance of public health and made us think about the meaning of our enrollment here.
When I enrolled in the program, I still had only a vague image of "public health" and kept asking myself;
“What is public health?”
“What can public health do?”
“How can I make use of what I have learned about public health?”
Through these two years, we have learned that analyzing and interpreting epidemiological or clinical data, reflecting scientific findings in policies, delivering correct information to society, and changing people's behaviors are all part of the essence of public health. The phrase "public health experts can bridge the gaps between research and policies, and policies and political actions" left a strong impression on me in the class. When I realized that public health is a discipline that can change society by connecting professionals, politicians, and people, I had a clearer picture of what we need to do in the future.
Although COVID-19 constrained our student life, it was immensely enriched by the arrangement of our dedicated faculties and teaching assistants. Even in the online classes, we were able to know each faculty’s and classmates’ diversity, which is one of the characteristics of St. Luke’s. It was a disappointment that we did not have much opportunity to meet face to face but I believe that the encounters here will make our lives even more exciting. I want to express our heartiest appreciation for your tremendous efforts.
I am also grateful to all my friends at St. Luke's who have studied hard together. You all have taught me how enjoyable it is to keep learning new things. Discussions with you always gave me new perspectives and motivation.
Having completed the MPH program, we must become "bridges" to improve our world. Let each of us build bridges in our position to improve people's health, eliminate poverty and inequity, and create a sustainable society. I hope we can do our best and be the first class in public health.
Once again, I am expressing our sincere gratitude to faculty members, university staff, our families, our friends, our colleagues, and all those who have supported us. Thank you very much.