Starting Point

"He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope has everything."
—Arabian Proverb

This spring, I watched my husband cross the finish line of his first marathon—with, quite literally, blood, sweat, and tears. Rob’s accomplishment was many months (and many pairs of sneakers) in the making. He spent countless hours running—before work or after work, and always on the weekends. Over the last six months, I happily cheered him on at various 5K races, a 20K, a half-marathon, and a 16-miler that wended its way through scenic New Hampshire—in January.

Through all of this mindful watching (and a little running myself—it turns out it’s a contagious sport), I have learned that the key to running well and to running far isn’t in the expensive sneakers or the friction-free socks. It’s in the mind. It’s in one’s dogged determination.

I see that same purposeful resolve in so many WPI alumni, faculty, and students. The proof, I offer, is in the stories of this Transformations. In focusing this issue on health, it’s quite clear that an inspiring number of WPI alumni have dedicated themselves and their work to this important field. Together, they’re tackling critical, complex health problems. In the pages that follow, you’ll read about a medical doctor turned software engineer, a biostatistician, a bioinformatics research scientist, and a hospice director, among others, who are finding ways to improve world health and our access to good care.

There’s more: first year students in the Great Problems Seminars tackle global health concerns and faculty research helps better integrate information technology into the healthcare system.

During the months that this issue came together, U.S. healthcare became a highly debated topic in Washington and around the country. Regardless of the timing of our theme (purely coincidental), the future of healthcare affects us all, no matter your politics. Twenty-first century healthcare solutions require the brains of many—doctors and nurses, scientists and engineers, problem-solvers and leaders.

So, here’s to your good health and mine. And to the important, determined work that WPI alumni, faculty, and students are doing in support of this noble endeavor.

Thanks for reading.

Charna Mamlok Westervelt, Editor

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