January 3, 2003

Good Morning:

The new year is already bringing about change. Pierre Buekens, formerly of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, officially assumed the position of dean of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine this week. Pierre replaces Ann C. Anderson, who has served as acting dean of our School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine since October 1999. I hope you will all join me in welcoming Pierre and his family to the Tulane community.

I want to personally thank Ann for her leadership of the school during an extraordinarily challenging period. Through her efforts the school joined the U.S. government as a partner in safeguarding Americans from the threat of bioterrorist attacks. Tulane is now one of only 15 schools throughout the country that will receive federal funding to ensure that the country's health care providers are trained to respond to terrorist acts.

Another major focus of Ann's tenure was the use of distance learning in public health education and the establishment of a program in which students can fulfill all the requirements of a degree in occupational health and safety without ever stepping foot in a traditional classroom. Ann also strengthened the financial standing of the school and ensured that it continued to be a leader in health education. In addition, she just recently shepherded the school through the reaccreditation process. We are all grateful to Ann for her stewardship and pleased that she will continue to serve Tulane as senior associate dean.

The subject of health reminds me of our new health care plan, an issue that I know continues to be of interest to everyone at Tulane. I have recently formed a Health Plan Oversight Committee comprised of: Alan Miller, associate senior vice president for health sciences and committee chair; Yvette Jones, senior vice president for external affairs and former administrator for the Tulane Preferred Health Plan; Anne Banos, chief of staff and vice president; Professor Linda Carroll, chair of University Senate Benefits Committee; and Associate Professor Blackwell Evans, former medical director of Tulane Preferred Health Plan.

This committee will closely monitor the implementation of the new plan, quickly address any issues that may arise and begin to think about what changes, if any, may have to be made in subsequent years to ensure access to high quality medical care at the lowest possible prices for all of our employees. I have every assurance that this committee will perform its duties with the utmost diligence.

Finally, I hope that everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season. The new year promises to be another exciting and productive one for Tulane. I, for one, can't wait to get started!

Have a great weekend,


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