“The greatest challenge, and a singular global threat, are those forces countering democratic processes around the world.”

David R. Ragland PhD, MPH ’80 is an adjunct professor emeritus of epidemiology at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. From 1980 to 2000 David conducted a number of studies in areas such as cardiovascular disease and occupational safety, and coordinated a T32 program with Leonard Syme that supported almost a 100 pre- and post-doctoral students. In 2000, he founded the UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center, now called the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, which conducts research on transportation practices, evaluates new technologies for road safety, and conducts policy analyses. Ragland has advised state and federal transportation agencies on issues of transportation safety, including collision analysis, data collection, and safety for vulnerable populations and pedestrians and bicyclists.

On public health and the challenges we face

“The challenges appear greater than at any time in my life. These include the impact of population increase, global climate change, and wealth inequality. The greatest challenge, and a singular global threat, are those forces countering democratic processes around the world. The field of public health is uniquely situated to address these challenges since it rests on strong empirical and social justice foundations.”

Berkeley moment

“My greatest memory from my time at the School of Public Health were Dr. Warren Winkelstein’s lectures on the history of public health that I attended as an MPH student in 1978-1980. The lectures demonstrated how public health could have a powerful impact on the health of entire populations by looking through the lens of population-based data and corresponding methods.”

Public health dream team

“I have been constantly amazed at the quality of students I have met through the School of Public Health over my years here as a student, as a researcher, and as an adjunct professor. Therefore, to tackle the most pressing public health problems of the next 75 years, I would choose any five students among those currently enrolled in the School of Public Health.”

You might also like:

Maria S. Gomez: Health activist who builds better futures for the DC area’s underserved
Bonnie Duran: Health advocate who combines cultured-centered and evidence-based interventions to create innovative treatments for indigenous communities
Susan Desmond-Hellmann: Powerful innovator of precision public health with a lifelong mission of improving the human condition