The Time Is Now
President John D. Simon
Photo: Christa Neu
Over the course of the past few months, as we at Lehigh have pushed forward on our plan to launch a new College of Health, I have on occasion been asked some version of the following question: Why?
Why take the risk? Why take it now?
And, by the way, why health?
To which I can’t help but think: Why anything but health?
After all, the health care sector now accounts for a staggering 17.8 percent of our total Gross National Product, with annual spending in the U.S. alone standing at more than $3 trillion (globally, the number is closer to $8 trillion). Our nation is home to more than 5,500 hospitals, housing as many as 897,000 patients, who are treated by more than 923,000 physicians. Yes, by most any measure, health care is a massive industry—and all signs suggest that it’s only going to get bigger: The Bureau for Labor Statistics projects 18 percent job growth in the sector by the year 2026.
But of course, this is also an industry plagued by enormous and confounding challenges—challenges related to cost, to delivery of care, to population health, to climate change, to labor shortages and to so much more. Simply, healthcare is one of the most complex, fast-changing, ungraspable sectors in the world today—and we believe that Lehigh has a role to play in shaping, and improving, its future.
Our college, which will open in time for the 2021-2022 academic year, is in many ways a natural next step for Lehigh. We boast a legacy of success and research prowess in such health and health-related fields as biology, statistics, health ethics and data analytics, among many others, and we will now harness those strengths to create a college uniquely positioned to probe deeply into the world of health and solve problems at both the micro- and macro-scale. I can confidently say that this is a college that will make a difference.
In the months to come, we expect that we will have additional important updates to share about this dynamic new college. In the meantime, I invite you to learn more about the initiative by visiting lehigh.edu/path, where you can gain deeper insights into our plans related both to the college and to the other key pillars of our Path to Prominence plan.
I thank you, as always, for your continued support for Lehigh. And I look forward to working with you, together, to help build a stronger, more impactful university.
John D. Simon, President
Follow President Simon on Instagram @lehighpressimon