EPI director speaks about importance of research at state capitol

Among the speakers, Morris represented both the University of Florida and the importance of research to the future of the state.

Dr. J. Glenn Morris spoke about the importance of research and science education at the state capitol Wednesday, rallying with the Florida Board of Governors and officials from all 12 of Florida’s public universities to support the launch of a statewide initiative advocating the importance of safety, research, and education at Florida’s universities.

“Our role is to train the next generation of scientists,” Morris said, “so that they too know how to ask and answer questions about health and disease and the world around us, and are here to deal with the next set of problems which will inevitably arise in our constantly changing world.”

EPI director Dr. J. Glenn Morris Jr. apeaks about the importance of research at the Florida state capitol.
EPI director Dr. J. Glenn Morris Jr. apeaks about the importance of research at the Florida state capitol.

Named the “Safer, Smarter, Stronger” initiative, it was designed to demonstrate the return on investment for each of the State University System’s top priorities. Other speakers included Board of Governors Chair Tom Kuntz, Senator Gary Farmer Jr., University of West Florida Student Veteran Timothy Jones, Florida State University First Generation Student Genevieve Bell, and Vice Chair Ned Lautenbach.

Morris suggested that universities play a significant role in producing the research that will help the world overcoming the threat of diseases both known and unknown.

“The emergence of infections such as Zika are an unfriendly reminder of why we must continue to invest in research, and pursue the discoveries and inventions that make all of our lives safer and better,” he said.

The speech was part of a larger program emphasizing how investing in mental health counseling, student safety, research, and student access to higher education will help create a “stronger” Florida.

“‘Safer, Smarter, Stronger’ is more than just a slogan,” said State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser. “It is a description of what we are accomplishing for our higher education system by working together with the governor, the legislature and the universities. We all know that the strength of Florida’s higher education system is directly tied to the success of our students and the prosperity of our state.”