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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dean's Message - September 13, 2021

Monday, September 13, 2021
Dean Jay reflects on the 9/11 anniversary and the coming year at GSBS.
Jaharis Building in the spring

Dear GSBS Community,

Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the terrorist attacks that transformed our country and the world. Some of our students are young enough to have known no other world. The days and weeks immediately following 9/11 were a time of great tragedy; there was kindness and coming together, as well as fear and uncertainty. That time, and the years since, was particularly challenging for the Muslim members of our community who suffered discrimination based on the acts of a fringe group.

I hope all our GSBS community members find solace with friends and family as you reflect on this day of remembering. I recall how hard I was hit by 9/11, both when it happened and in the months after, as anxiety made it challenging to think and work. My recovery was helped by discussing with friends, colleagues, family, and professionals. Most of all, however, it was helped by putting one foot in front of the other and returning to my work while thinking about how I could make a difference to my community. My lab discussed our concerns openly at a lab meeting, allowing us to feel supported and know we were not alone in our struggles. I share this with the hope that knowing others can, and do, suffer from mental health issues may make it easier to recognize and seek help for anything with which you may be struggling.

We are now facing a similar time of uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic. Much like in the aftermath of 9/11, we can work together to support one another. I want this year to be one where wellness and resilience are forefront in our minds. Finding ways to come together as a supportive community will help our students reach their potential and become successful scientists. To work toward this goal, I have established a Wellness and Resilience Fund supported by philanthropy that will help us rapidly pilot your suggestions. Anyone who has suggestions for the Wellness and Resilience fund can reach out to me at And for those who are struggling with their mental health – whether due to the pandemic, the stresses of graduate school, or anything else – there are resources available. You can schedule a counseling appointment with Talk One2One by emailing or calling 1.800.756.3124; contact Snaggs Gendron at Student Wellness Advising; or meet with Associate Dean Dan Volchok.

Dan Jay