Working Toward Change: A Message from Dean Arnett

September 25, 2020

The following message was distributed to all College of Public Health students, faculty, and staff on September 25, 2020. 


Dear College of Public Health Community,


The last 48 hours have been challenging, as developments in the case of Breonna Taylor have laid bare the pain, frustration, and sadness many of us have been carrying for far too long. By now you may have read the messages sent by President Capilouto and the Academic Leadership team. I echo these sentiments and would like to add to them my personal condolences to the family and loved ones of Ms. Taylor, as well as all who suffer with them.


The death of Breonna Taylor is especially resonant for our community—not just because she was a Kentuckian and a former University of Kentucky student—but because she was a health worker on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic. At this time, we express our solidarity with those who call for systemic change; it is our job to build a world where this can never happen again. For us as public health scholars and practitioners, that means engaging in work to understand the policies, behaviors, and biases that created this situation—and working to create evidence-based change to prevent future deaths. We owe that to Breonna, and to humanity.


I also want to remind each of you to take care of yourselves, and each other. Students, please do not hesitate to reach out to the UK Counseling Center and other campus resources. If you need assistance locating resources for mental health and wellness, our Student Engagement, Advising and Success team is here to help. Faculty and staff can access a variety of resources, including UK Work+Life Connections Counseling and independent mental health care providers. The College of Public Health Diversity and Inclusion Committee can also connect students and employees with assistance, as well as address more general concerns.


We still have much work to do, and we’re committed to seeing it through.


In Solidarity,




Donna K. Arnett, PhD, MSPH


University of Kentucky College of Public Health