Cheryl Scott to Deliver 2021 Convocation Address.

Cheryl Scott to Deliver 2021 Convocation Address

The Dean’s Advisory Board member has led a 40-year career in preventive medicine, health systems strengthening, and disaster relief, including 20 years in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

April 30, 2021
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Cheryl Scott (MED’82), whose tireless work as a medical epidemiologist and public health officer on multiple continents has examined health equity and the connection to social determinants of health, will deliver the 2021 School of Public Health Convocation Address.

The virtual ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 15 from noon–1:30 p.m. EST as part of the BU Commencement Weekend that will culminate in an in-person All University Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 16, 2021.

For much of the past year, Scott has been helping coordinate COVID-19 response for the Community Health Services Bureau of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. She served on the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee to develop vaccine allocation strategy, developed community education forums, and helped create culturally relevant messages for varied audiences.

In a previous interview in early 2021, Scott said the vaccine challenges in the US, from initial public reluctance to inequitable distribution in certain areas, “have really uncovered how discrimination is still baked into our processes.”

Scott graduated from the BU School of Medicine in 1982 and completed residencies in internal and preventive medicine. She earned a Master of Public Health in International Health at Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health (now Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) in 1986. She received her medical degree amidst the HIV/AIDS epidemic and devoted her career to disease control and treatment, developing sustainable solutions to the social and economic barriers that impact health all over the world.

Scott served 20 years as a medical officer in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHS) assigned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Scott has been devoted to reducing inequities since the beginning of her clinical and public health career. After completing projects in Cote d’Ivoire, India, Kenya, and the Caribbean, where she studied uterine rupture, pancreatic cancer and delayed puberty among malnourished schoolgirls in these settings, she decided to pursue her MPH and gain experience  in applied epidemiology. Scott joined the CDC and PHS in 1993 and served as an epidemic intelligence service officer in the Maternal and Child Health Division of the California Department of Health Services. She has had multiple assignments and held several senior public health roles in the US, Caribbean, Latin America and several African countries.  

From 2000-2005, Scott served as the inaugural CDC Director in Tanzania, where she established a CDC office and a $34 million HIV/AIDS program for prevention, care, and treatment, which laid a cornerstone for the rapid scale-up of national services on Tanzania’s mainland and islands of Zanzibar. Scott’s collaboration with the Tanzanian government and its multiple partners played a critical role in the implementation of the country’s first no-cost national antiretroviral therapy program. 

Scott returned to the US to work for the next five years with the California Department of Public Health Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis Service. She retired from the PHS at the rank of captain in 2010, and served for five more years on the Pacific and Southwest Regional Health Equity Council, which established a system to leverage resources into equitable public health policies and practice within the region. 

Scott is one of the 24 members of the SPH Dean’s Advisory Board, which helps Dean Sandro Galea and senior SPH leadership evaluate strategy and best practices, examine financial matters, and bolster philanthropic support of the school. 

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Cheryl Scott to Deliver 2021 Convocation Address

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