Les says farewell

We are all very proud of Les Roberts, professor of the Program of Forced Migration and Health at Columbia, who left September 29th to work with the WHO in Sierra Leone on the Ebola response.  We’ll be posting his updates here, so please check back often!

Freetown 2014 ©Les Roberts

Hand-washing station at the entrance of Connaught Hospital, Freetown.

Please see below for an excerpt of his farewell email to his students.



I am sure that you all felt a little heartache as MSF and West African officials have pleaded for more help from the West during this ebola outbreak.  Both CDC and then WHO reached out to me requesting I go work on the outbreak and while at first I refused because of my teaching obligations, but my wife and consensus have reminded me that the teaching can be rearranged and postposed, but the outbreak intervention cannot.  I will be taking a 2 month leave of absence from Columbia University starting October 1st so I can work for WHO in Sierra Leone.

Thus, I am going to impose on your good nature and delay the start of my classes.

I am sorry if this disrupts your plans but I feel the need to be of some service at this moment when my limited skills will likely have something to contribute.  I look forward to seeing you in January.




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