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Student Research Reception and Recognition Dinner

7 p.m. Friday, April 8, University Center Club 5th Floor

Good evening, and welcome! I am so glad to join President Murdaugh and Provost Marcella David here tonight.

This is a great example of what is so wonderful about having three institutions of higher education in the same town. We can all collaborate on ways to address some of the most pressing needs in our community and society at large.

I really can’t think of a more important issue than the health of our neighbors — whether they live here in Tallahassee or across the state and nation.

Unfortunately, not every one has access to quality health care. That’s why I’m pleased that FSU has taken the lead on bringing universities together through the Florida Health Equity Research Institute.

This statewide initiative focuses on conducting research to better understand health disparities and on developing ways to promote health equity across Florida.

I’d like to recognize Dr. Penny Ralston’s leadership in this area. As director of the Better Health and Life Center, she and her team of researchers are bringing health initiatives directly to people who can benefit from them.

In addition, the center is committed to mentoring college students who are interested in careers in the health fields so that they might one day provide needed services to these communities.

This is what universities are all about — conducting research that makes a difference and inspiring young people to change the world.

The students here tonight from FAMU, FSU and TCC are tackling important health issues, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. They are to be commended for their research contributions and for their interest in careers that can potentially save lives. That’s why I’m so glad we have the opportunity tonight to recognize them.

I’d also like to thank the faculty members who serve as mentors to these promising students. And I want you to know that I appreciate your efforts to reach out to your colleagues to collaborate across disciplines and institutions.

Florida is one of the most diverse states in the country, and it’s important that we understand how we may better serve all of our citizens. It’s heartening to know that everyone in this room is working toward a healthier and more promising future.