Today marks the start of classes at Georgetown Law—the classrooms and hallways will once again be filled with students. As the law school welcomes the new class of students, the phrase “we have been waiting for you” found its way in many of the speeches made during orientation. And we have indeed.

For the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, we celebrate this class as the ninth in the history of the Global Health Law LL.M. Program. Our students come from varying backgrounds and levels of experience, and we can proudly say that we have at least one student from each region of the world. For us, this is a tremendous accomplishment.

To the O’Neill Institute, the LL.M. program is an important part of its mission, which is to improve the health of populations throughout the world, and we consider that “law has been, and will remain, a fundamental tool for solving critical health problems in our local, national, and global communities.” Through the program, the institute strives to not only underscore but demonstrate the relevance of lawyers to public health as graduates become ambassadors of the program and the field through their work.

With the field of  global health seeking to create a multi-disciplinary community of actors to address public health issues that are shared across the world, the time is ripe for lawyers to become more prominent actors—whether we are talking about healthcare, tobacco control, food safety, vaccines, or global health threats like Ebola or influenza. As such, we are thrilled to see not only that the number of our students continues to grow each year, but also that each corner of the world is represented among our students this year. Essentially, what this means is that we are indirectly impacting a different part of the world with every student, and hence, we get one step closer to our goal. Our students are talented lawyers with a thirst to not only grow as professionals but to also join the close to 100 graduates who have come through the program and work to improve the health of people.

So welcome students, welcome to Georgetown Law, the O’Neill Institute, and the Global Health Law community!