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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he word passion is one of the most commonly used nouns in our conversations. People are passionate about anything and everything, from energy, to cupcakes and even pet food. Sometimes it seems that all you need to have passion is a strong opinion, a platform or an audience. However, real passion involves more than a feeling. It has been defined as a strong and barely controllable emotion.
Barely controllable. As in the passion that helps communities to be prepared to face disasters with courage and skills. The passion to help African-American and Latina women who are at a higher risk of suffering from breast cancer to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors that will prevent this scourge from affecting them and their families. The barely controllable passion it takes for a student to leave the comforts of their country, school and home and travel to a culture and environment that is foreign, not to visit or tour, but to dwell with, educate and transform; to be educated, to be transformed.
Barely controllable emotion moved an alumna of our off-campus program in Chile to influence policy in the government, making drug use prevention education mandatory in the school system. It is this passion that inspires our public health faculty to prepare the students to serve in a world that needs compassion, a compassion that moves them to action.
Genuine passion “produces a self-directed commitment to learn more about, participate in, and influence others toward interests or issues even when it requires, as in the case of Christ, sacrifice or suffering.” (Steve Moore, Who is my Neighbor, Navpress 2010).
In this magazine you will find stories of passion. It is the passion that has compelled us to redesign our school so it can better move to actions that serve those who need it. We want to learn, participate and influence others towards building communities that are healthy and resilient. We do this from a strong foundation of faith in principle and action, around the world and in our neighborhoods, even when it requires sacrifice.
It is our passion. We hope it is also yours.
Tricia Penniecook, MD, MPH
Dean, Loma Linda University
School of Public Health