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Wake Up to the HAPPY Initiative

A Closer Look - Dean's Message

Extraordinary storytelling is happening at the Yale School of Public Health. The Humanities, Arts, and Public Health Practice at Yale (HAPPY) Initiative is a bold new program at our school that seeks to leverage the power of the humanities, arts, and storytelling to inspire the public to improve community health. The HAPPY initiative is led by Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases), Judith Lichtman, MPH ’88, PhD ’96, who recognizes the potential of the arts to convey important public health messages. Dr. Lichtman served as emcee earlier this fall when dozens of YSPH alumni gathered at the iconic Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater for the first large-scale, multimedia production by HAPPY. It was an evening of wonderful music, storytelling, and performances focused on the importance of sleep in health.

Mary Peng, a second-year Master of Public Health student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, is deeply passionate about bridging disciplines such as art, technology, and social and behavioral sciences, to advance individual and population health. The graphic above, produced by Mary, depicts how NIH investment in sleep research has doubled over 15 years. In the spring, students in the Humanities, Arts, and Public Health course will explore methodologies for incorporating and assessing the impact of arts on public health.

I encourage those who aren’t familiar to visit Happy's website to learn more and to watch for upcoming events. I wish you and yours a restorative, healthy and HAPPY holiday season!


Melinda Pettigrew, PhD '99 (she/her/hers)
Anna M. R. Lauder Professor of Epidemiology
Interim Dean, Yale School of Public Health