The Disaster in the Philippines

November 18, 2013

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to the Philippines to collaborate on a psychological study concerning the stigma associated with leprosy. The public health workers and other officials with whom I met were committed, passionate individuals focused intensely on improving life in a challenging place–the country is made up of more than 7,000 different islands, about 2,000 of them inhabited.

This past week, one of the largest storms ever to come ashore struck the Philippines, not far from the areas where I had been working. The devastation is beyond anything most of us can imagine, and many in our community–students, staff, and faculty–immediately began planning relief efforts.

Yale is a global university. We experience this in the diversity of our student body, our staff, and our faculty who come to New Haven from all over the world, as well as through many programs that link those in New Haven to universities in other parts of the world. And we experience this as citizens of the world, through an understanding that shapes who we are and how we respond to our neighbors, whether in New Haven or halfway around the globe.

The work of helping our neighbors in the Philippines recover will go on for years. There are opportunities in the days and weeks ahead to contribute to fundraising efforts; and, as in previous tragedies, members of our public health, nursing, and medical communities will likely be called upon to assist.

Information about ways to help is available at I know that members of the Yale family will be generous, and I feel honored to be part of such a caring community.