Ten years ago, when I was editing Karen Schmidt’s articles at the small newspaper where we both worked, I wouldn’t have guessed that someday I’d be fielding her dispatches from Africa. But life’s events brought me to Yale as an editor in 1994, and a few years later Karen enrolled as a master’s degree candidate here at the School of Public Health. Now she is living in Kenya and working for a nonprofit organization devoted to AIDS prevention.
As her career has shifted full-speed into international health, Karen has retained her reporter’s eye; she has both a knack for quick-sighted observations and a gift for articulating them with style and a sense of humor. Her cover story—the second in the “Letter from …” series that debuted last spring with Sharon Chekijian’s report from Armenia—offers a glimpse of life in a major African city and a look at the challenges facing health professionals trying to stem the global advance of HIV.
Also probing unexplored territory this issue are the Yale scientists pushing the boundaries of microarray technology in search of new therapies [“Targeting Cancer by Subtype”], as well as the alumni and faculty experts who are wrestling with the threat of bioterrorism [“Lessons from Anthrax”]. As with Karen, their sense of intellectual adventure has led them down new paths. All three areas of inquiry promise to make a lasting contribution to medicine and public health around the world.