Skip to main
University-wide Navigation

September 1, 2022, will be remembered as the date when the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health (CPH) community came together to celebrate public health at the inaugural "Pump It Up" event – a place where everyone belongs and believes in building a healthier world.

“This was a significant event for our college community and a special opportunity to come together. What an awesome way to honor our students and their commitment to public health!” says Dr. Heather Bush, Acting Dean at CPH. “I am grateful for everyone that made this celebration happen with special thanks to our guest speakers. It was wonderful to celebrate the contributions made in public health every day.”

At this event, approximately 200 students, faculty, staff, alumni, community partners, and supporters of CPH were able to experience a new appreciation of being a “pumped-up” public health champion.

“Community is central to public health, whether we’re working with communities around the state, nation, and world to prevent disease and promote health, or celebrating our own community right here at CPH," says Dr. Anna Hoover, faculty member at CPH. "It is a privilege to welcome new members of our community and celebrate those who have been here since our college was established. Together, we will strengthen the health of Kentucky and beyond!”

Attendees learned about the significance of the pump handle in history, which is considered by many practitioners, to symbolize the birth of public health. 

In the mid-1800s, John Snow, M.D., a historical figure in epidemiology, provided one of the earliest examples of using epidemiologic methods to identify the risk for disease and recommend preventive action. On August 31, 1854, London experienced a recurrent epidemic of cholera and Snow suspected water from the Broad Street pump as the source of disease. 

Removal of this handle prevented additional cholera deaths, supporting Snow's theory that cholera was a waterborne, contagious disease. Snow's studies and the removal of the pump handle became a model for modern epidemiology.

The highlight of the event was attendees’ participation in the historic public health professional’s oath, delivered by Dr. James Holsinger, Chancellor-emeritus, Wethington Chair-emeritus, and Professor-emeritus of Preventive Medicine at the University of Kentucky. 

Upon affirming this oath, students received a certification inducting them into the Alpha chapter of the Pump Handle society.

"The Pump It Up event was a great reminder of how important community is!" says Megan Hannah, staff member at CPH. "It was so nice to see everyone in the public health community come together to induct our future leaders into the Pump Handle society."

In addition, special guest speakers included Dr. Crystal Miller, public health director for the WEDCO District Health Department, and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, who was introduced by Dr. Kathleen Winter, state epidemiologist for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

"It was amazing hearing these professional speakers and champions for public health," says Christopher Otieno, current student at CPH and the University of Kentucky. "I received amazing insight on what I need to do to succeed. My biggest take away is that people will always remember how you treat them and to remain humble no matter where you end up in life."

The College plans to continue the “Pump It Up” celebration on an annual basis and with additional events that reinforce the value and purpose of our public health community, which is building a healthier world for everyone. 

Enjoy viewing the pictures from the event through the UK Photo site and the College's Facebook album.