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Dean’s Message

Aloha from the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health!

A Ortega photo 250x350Aloha,

It is a privilege to be the Dean of the Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health, which is home to a vibrant and outstanding community of scholars, staff, students, alumni and community partners.

It is an incredible time to be in the fields of social work and public health. Our society has recently experienced unprecedented events, including—but not limited to—a global infectious disease pandemic, a major social movement for racial justice, a SCOTUS decision that affects women’s health, immigrant children put in cages, and public health disasters that are increasing in severity and frequency as a result of global climate change. Locally, nationally, and internationally there is a deep need for well-trained and committed social work and public health practitioners and researchers to tackle these enormous social and environmental injustices. The Thompson School is committed to preparing the next generation of professionals who can take on these challenges.

The school provides an intellectually-rich and supportive environment for students to prepare them to make a difference in a complex, rapidly changing world. We invite you to explore our programs to find one that is well-suited to your personal and professional goals. We have a long tradition of academic excellence and multidisciplinary collaboration rooted in community participation and applications to practice and policy. If a learning environment that emphasizes real-world experiences and applications interests you, then you will find a home at the Thompson School.

Our school is named for Myron B. Thompson, who received his Master of Social Work (MSW) from the school in 1953 and devoted his life to improving the well-being of Native Hawaiians and all people of Hawai’i. We are proud to follow his example and honored to carry his name, which reflects the critical importance of an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems and of social justice and health equity.

We hope that you will join us to continue to build health equity, social justice, and improved health and well-being of populations across Hawai’i, the country, and the world.

With much Aloha,

Alex Ortega, PhD


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