The story of the goldfish

The healthiest goldfish is a metaphor.

Imagine you have a goldfish. You want it to be well, so you feed it good food, you tell it to swim around its bowl regularly to get exercise, and when it’s sick you give it the best goldfish medicine. Then one day you wake up to find your fish has died. What happened to your fish?

You forgot to change its water.

The water is the world around us; it is the power, politics, and places that shape our lives. My written works are about these underlying forces. Only if we change the water can we become the healthiest goldfish.

Who am I?

I am Sandro Galea, a physician, epidemiologist, author, and dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. I think about how we think about health. My academic work is about the social causes of health, mental health, and the consequences of trauma. I hope to think differently, and to bring a fresh perspective to the public space, aiming to change the conversation on health.

You can read more about me at

How do I stay in the loop?

Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox. I aim to send out a set of thoughts every week about what is happening in the world, and how it intersects with our health. For those who might be interested in reading more, please feel free to subscribe for The Healthiest Goldfish +, where I will post additional thoughts.