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From the Dean
Fall 2023
General
Dean Messonnier celebrates a year at Gillings School, highlighting its top U.S. News ranking and commitment to public health education.
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Since stepping into the role of dean at the Gillings School, I have been on a journey of daily discovery that has left me inspired by what our Carolina community can accomplish.

We are once again the number one public school of public health in the country, according to the 2023 U.S. News rankings. That carries special meaning to me this year because I saw firsthand how much this honor is a result of the hard work and dedication of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors.

They are the engine that keeps the Gillings School running, who help one another face the tough challenges and show appreciation for their achievements. Through their work, they push boundaries in search of new public health solutions that bolster preparedness, support clean air and clean water, and lead to healthy communities and families.

I am also grateful for our community partners, peer institutions and collaborators across UNC, who are an important part of the global network that trains public health leaders of tomorrow.

Thank you for a wonderful first year – one where we graduated the largest cohort of public health students in UNC-Chapel Hill’s history. I am confident that, as each graduate takes the next step in their journey, they will be supported by a strong public health foundation that will help dismantle systemic inequities and make meaningful change in lives.

We are proudly a public school and committed to fulfilling our responsibility to the state of North Carolina and to the world, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to experience the best health possible. This impact report is a product of that commitment, and we hope it demonstrates the value of your investment in a public health education that can make an impact at UNC, in our state and around the globe.

In public health, the work is never truly done. But through this impact report, I hope you’ll take a moment to join us in celebrating our accomplishments while we anticipate with excitement the new challenges we are ready to face.  

Nancy Messonnier, MD

Dean and Bryson Distinguished
Professor in Public Health

Congratulations to our new department chairs!

  • Raz Shaikh, PhD — Chair of the Department of Nutrition
  • Kristin Reiter, PhD — Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management
  • Michael Hudgens, PhD — Chair of the Department of Biostatistics
  • Anna Schenck, PhD — Chair of the Department of Public Health Leadership and Practice
Preparedness: Symposium underscores READDI’s role in ‘marathon of preparedness’
Fall 2023
Epidemiology
READDI Symposium highlights pandemic readiness, featuring broad-spectrum antiviral strategies and expert discussions on preparedness.
READ MORE

Making that scenario a reality was the focus of “Ready on Day 1,” a half-day symposium hosted by READDI, Inc. — the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative — in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Sept. 20.

A nonprofit organization, READDI leverages the latest virology know-how and medicinal chemistry to develop broad-acting small molecule antiviral therapeutics — pills that can be taken with a drink of water — to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. Critically, the company is doing so now, before the next novel virus emerges.

“It’s not about the sprint of response from the moment that we’re all panicking. It is about the marathon of preparedness before that day zero,” said speaker Charlotte Baker, deputy head of the London-based International Pandemic Preparedness Secretariat (IPPS) which is affiliated with the G7 and is collaborating with READDI to help prepare for the next pandemic.

Baker, who arrived fresh from the United Nations General Assembly Science Summit, joined a blockbuster roster of experts who discussed the urgency of preparedness and the importance of broad-spectrum therapeutics — READDI’s signature approach. Other speakers included former United States Senator Richard Burr and Matt Hepburn, MD, with the Department of Defense (DOD), who was COVID Vaccine Lead for Operation Warp Speed.

“Ready on Day 1” drew a capacity crowd of nearly 100 attendees. It followed the annual scientific meeting of the Carolina-based READDI AViDD Center, one of nine Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern around the U.S. funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Targeting virus families

Following introductory remarks from UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, READDI CEO Jimmy Rosen held up a deck of playing cards, a prop meant to drive home READDI’s innovative “broad-spectrum” antiviral approach. Drawing a card from the deck, Rosen asked audience members on one side of the room to silently guess the card’s number. Those on the other side needed only guess the suit.

“The suit is a heart,” Rosen said. “How many people on this side guessed it was a heart?”

Hands shot up.

Turning to face the other side of the room, he said, “OK, the card is a 30112X.”

No hands.

Like the next pandemic virus, card number 30112X does not yet exist, but the suit that it belongs to does.

“If this deck of cards represents viruses and each suit is a family of viruses, READDI is making drugs that work against the suits,” Rosen explained. “We have to be ready with drugs for every suit in the deck […] because we don’t know what the next virus is going to be.”

That’s how viral pandemics work; the specific source of the next outbreak is a mystery. Experts call it Disease X.

“We have to accept that and use it as our design principle,” said Carolina virologist Nat Moorman, PhD, READDI co-founder and scientific adviser.

READDI’s design principle, Moorman said, takes advantage of the fact that viruses in a family share inherited traits that allow scientists to target vulnerabilities within families. READDI is developing antiviral drugs that work against an entire family of viruses — even viruses that have not yet emerged.

The drug discovery work for five top virus families of pandemic concern is well underway, Moorman shared in his presentation. He detailed progress on two promising compounds — NZ-804 and CMX-521 — that target members of the coronavirus family, including SARS-CoV-2 and potentially future coronaviruses that have not yet emerged.

‘It’s not a miracle. It’s science.’

The catastrophic consequences of getting caught off guard by a novel virus like SARS-CoV-2 was a recurring theme throughout the afternoon.

“We did not have therapeutics. We didn’t have vaccines. People were hiding in their houses,” said Dean Nancy Messonnier, MD, of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, who worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when the novel coronavirus emerged. She led the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine implementation program.

Read full article at go.unc.edu/day1-symposium

Our 3 pillars for a healthier future

We strive toward a future where health is a universal right and the planet we call home is safeguarded for generations to come. In our pursuit of a healthier world, we’ve established three essential pillars to illustrate how we meet our mission.

  1. Preparedness: We aim to prevent crises; craft strong, empathetic health messages; support an immediate response to emergencies; and work with communities through their full recovery.
  2. Clean air and water: We study the systems, structures and pollutants that pose a threat to health, invent scalable solutions, and collaborate with leaders to create sustainable change.
  3. Healthy families and communities: We research chronic illness prevention, address health inequalities and curb harmful behaviors with population-level strategies.
Preparedness: UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke awarded $50M from FDA for new research center
Fall 2023
BIOS
UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University receive $50M from FDA to establish a Research Triangle Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation.
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Triangle CERSI, the newest of only five CERSIs across the country, will work with FDA scientists to perform cutting-edge scientific research to better inform and support the FDA’s needs. The four other FDA-funded CERSIs include the University of Maryland, the University of California at San Francisco in partnership with Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, and Yale University in partnership with the Mayo Clinic.

Along with principal investigator Paul Watkins, MD, Howard Q. Ferguson Distinguished Professor of Pharmacy at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and professor at the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, three principal investigators from Duke proposed the creation of the Triangle CERSI: Susan Halabi, PhD, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics and co-chief for the division of biostatistics at Duke University School of Medicine; Robert Mentz, MD, associate professor of medicine and population health sciences and chief of the heart failure section at Duke University School of Medicine and a Duke Clinical Research Institute faculty member; and Ehsan Samei, PhD, Reed and Martha Rice Distinguished Professor of Radiology at Duke University and chief imagining physicist for Duke University Health System. Together they will co-lead the new Triangle CERSI to serve as an accelerator to meet the FDA’s evolving need to access the most current scientific knowledge and to also create a tight-knit community for regulators, academia, industry and other stakeholders.

“We are delighted to be awarded the fifth national CERSI, which is a testament to the outstanding scientists at Carolina and Duke, along with our collaborating institutions NC State and NCCU. This center will support many joint research projects involving FDA scientists to better inform regulatory decisions and thereby improve public health,” said Watkins.

The center will include a broad network of researchers and national and international collaborators who bring together unique and diverse expertise and resources to support FDA regulatory actions. The Triangle CERSI will include but is not limited to faculty from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC School of Medicine, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC School of Data Science and Society, Duke University School of Medicine, Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University’s Center for Virtual Imaging Trials, the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the Colleges of Engineering and Veterinary Medicine at NC State, the NCCU College of Health and Sciences, NCCU College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, the NCCU Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise, and the NCCU Julius L. Chambers Biomedical and Biotechnology Research Institute (JLC-BBRI).

“The Triangle CERSI is a significant opportunity for our scholarly communities to curate and direct our intelligence towards addressing an important societal need for proficient and efficient regulatory approval and oversight,” noted Samei.

Drawing from the Duke community, Mentz noted, “We are uniquely positioned to leverage the tremendous strengths of Duke’s trial and observational research infrastructure, machine learning, statistical knowledge, in silico trials, and imaging expertise to answer meaningful questions for patients and other key stakeholders.”

In close partnership with the FDA, the goal of the center is to serve as an accelerator to meet the FDA’s evolving need to access the most current scientific knowledge. The center will provide an abundance of essential new information, as well as infrastructure and tools to shorten the drug and device development process, advance public health, and inform regulatory decision-making and guidance documents that complement and enhance other CERSIs.

“The Triangle CERSI will equip the FDA with tools to overcome the challenges of the 21st-century drug and device development process in order to rapidly advance public health interests,” added Halabi.

The 38 projects described in the grant application propose novel statistical methodology, machine learning and artificial intelligence, imaging, in silico trials, pediatric pharmacology, population science, patient-reported outcomes, safety assessment across the lifespan and other areas.

“The breadth and scope of the research projects that the Triangle CERSI will support, combined with the world-class expertise available in the Triangle to address them, ensure that the CERSI project will have a transformative impact on regulatory science,” said Marie Davidian, PhD, J. Stuart Hunter Distinguished Professor of Statistics at NC State University.

“The Triangle CERSI presents an important opportunity for North Carolina Central University students and researchers to leverage its infrastructure and tools for research and training, engage in regulatory science projects and help diversify the workforce,” said Deepak Kumar, PhD, NCCU interim associate provost, dean of research and director of the JLC-BBRI.

Our 3 pillars for a healthier future

We strive toward a future where health is a universal right and the planet we call home is safeguarded for generations to come. In our pursuit of a healthier world, we’ve established three essential pillars to illustrate how we meet our mission.

  1. Preparedness: We aim to prevent crises; craft strong, empathetic health messages; support an immediate response to emergencies; and work with communities through their full recovery.
  2. Clean air and water: We study the systems, structures and pollutants that pose a threat to health, invent scalable solutions, and collaborate with leaders to create sustainable change.
  3. Healthy families and communities: We research chronic illness prevention, address health inequalities and curb harmful behaviors with population-level strategies.
Preparedness: Gillings hosts new CDC outbreak forecasting center
Fall 2023
Epidemiology
UNC Gillings School hosts a new CDC-funded center for outbreak forecasting, joining a 13-partner network to enhance public health responses and analytics.
READ MORE

Carolina’s public health school is one of 13 funded partners working alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish the Outbreak Analytics and Disease Modeling Network (OADM).

Each funded partner in the network will provide support in innovation, integration or implementation for outbreak analytics, disease modeling and forecasting. The Gillings School will receive $4.5 million a year for five years to support the creation of the Atlantic Coast Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics and Analytics (ACCIDDA).

Over the next five years, ACCIDDA will support the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics as a Center of Innovation and as the OADM Coordinating Center, overseeing coordination of efforts and the transition of analytical methods among the 13 funded partners.

“These centers will create a national network to provide data and modeling support to public health responders as they prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks,” said Justin Lessler, co-lead of ACCIDDA and professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School. “We want to ensure that, the next time an incident like COVID-19 happens, there are known and trusted sources for modeling and data analysis that can produce relevant and valid projections.”

ACCIDDA will be led by Lessler and Kim Powers, associate professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School, along with Shaun Truelove, assistant scientist in international health and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Additional collaborating institutions include the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the University of Florida and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Jennifer Anderson at the Gillings School and Erica Carcelén at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will serve as ACCIDDA’s project managers.

“The goal is to provide reliable modeling and response tools for public health agencies to respond to various types of potential outbreaks, like Mpox or COVID-19,” Powers said. “One of the innovations our center plans to focus on is finding ways to take projections at the national or state level and make them relevant to smaller communities, particularly those that are rural or marginalized who need a customized public health approach.”

“This new center and network will build on the tremendous amount of work and collaboration to apply disease modeling and analytics for direct public health response and decision-making,” said Truelove. “We are extremely excited to continue adding to our toolkit through innovation, increasing our workforce through training of new experts and building capacity across the U.S. through expanded engagement with public health organizations.”

Our 3 pillars for a healthier future

We strive toward a future where health is a universal right and the planet we call home is safeguarded for generations to come. In our pursuit of a healthier world, we’ve established three essential pillars to illustrate how we meet our mission.

  1. Preparedness: We aim to prevent crises; craft strong, empathetic health messages; support an immediate response to emergencies; and work with communities through their full recovery.
  2. Clean air and water: We study the systems, structures and pollutants that pose a threat to health, invent scalable solutions, and collaborate with leaders to create sustainable change.
  3. Healthy families and communities: We research chronic illness prevention, address health inequalities and curb harmful behaviors with population-level strategies.
Clean air and water: EPA funding bolsters Gillings research on PFAS in outdoor air
Fall 2023
ESE
Gillings School researchers receive $799,833 EPA grant for developing methods to detect PFAS and other emerging air pollutants.
READ MORE

“Even though PFAS pollution is now recognized to be a major water issue here in North Carolina, less is known about the types, sources and fates of PFAS in N.C. air,” said Jason Surratt, PhD, principal investigator and professor of environmental sciences and engineering. “We do know that air emissions of PFAS from certain sources in N.C. can contaminate private wells from precipitation such as rain. The first two years of this new study will be focused on developing and optimizing our new, real-time analytical methods to detect PFAS in air within N.C. In the last year of this study, we will sample outdoor air near Chemours in Fayetteville, N.C., in order to understand what types of PFAS might be emitted into N.C. air and chemically transformed during meteorological transport to downwind communities.”

The study, “Development of High-Resolution Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry Methods for Real-Time Measurement of Emerging Airborne Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS),” will be led by a team of researchers that includes Surratt, Professor and Chair Barbara Turpin, PhD, and Associate Professor Zhenfa Zhang, PhD, from the Gillings School; and Yue Zhang, PhD, and Sarah Brooks, PhD, from Texas A&M University.

This award is part of more than $4.7M in research grants to seven institutions for research to advance measurement and monitoring methods for air toxics and contaminants of emerging concern in the atmosphere.

Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), often referred to as air toxics, are a subset of air pollutants known to cause cancer or other serious health effects. There is extensive evidence that low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to air toxics.

“While we have made great strides in reducing air pollution, there is still more work to be done to protect public health,” said Maureen Gwinn, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “This research will improve our ability to measure air contaminants and find better strategies for reducing them in the environment.”

Our 3 pillars for a healthier future

We strive toward a future where health is a universal right and the planet we call home is safeguarded for generations to come. In our pursuit of a healthier world, we’ve established three essential pillars to illustrate how we meet our mission.

  1. Preparedness: We aim to prevent crises; craft strong, empathetic health messages; support an immediate response to emergencies; and work with communities through their full recovery.
  2. Clean air and water: We study the systems, structures and pollutants that pose a threat to health, invent scalable solutions, and collaborate with leaders to create sustainable change.
  3. Healthy families and communities: We research chronic illness prevention, address health inequalities and curb harmful behaviors with population-level strategies.
Clean air and water: Students reflect on ‘once-in-a-generation’ UN Water Conference
Fall 2023
ESE
UNC Gillings students reflect on key insights from the UN Water Conference, emphasizing global water challenges and the importance of sustainable solutions.
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The conference, co-hosted by the Netherlands and Tajikistan, brought the global water community together on March 22-24 in New York City with the aim of understanding, managing and taking action toward shared water goals. Attendees tackled five themes: Water for Health; Water for Sustainable Development; Water for Climate, Resilience and Environment; Water for Cooperation; and Water Action Decade.

In the face of inevitable pressures from urbanization and global climate change, among other factors, organizers envisioned the UN 2023 Water Conference as a catalyst for progress toward the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by member states in 2015 as a “shared blueprint” for international cooperation that prioritizes the health of people and the environment. Safe water and sanitation are vital preconditions for efforts to promote health, adequate nutrition, gender equity, education, industry and the environment.

Three doctoral students in the UNC Gillings Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering attended the conference and reflect on their experiences and takeaways from this landmark event.

Hanna Brosky: Water is everyone’s business.

“As a doctoral student with a deep interest in water engineering, I was eager to attend this conference to gain a better understanding of the global state of water, meet experts in the field whom I respect, and listen to agenda items for the future generations of water researchers and engineers to uphold. The UN in New York City opened its doors to the global water champions, and its seats filled with indigenous representatives, UN delegates, country diplomats and leaders, and spokespeople for both nongovernmental and government organizations. I listened to many delegates of low-income countries discuss problems with affordability of water services and securing appropriate solutions that are not only for developed societies. I heard a focus on putting action to local challenges and the importance of concentrated, systematic solutions that would be inclusive to all, especially women, children and marginalized people. The closing plenary ended with a statement reinforcing how critical it is to include water in all government priorities and the assertion that ‘water is and should remain everyone’s business.’ I left the UN conference having witnessed the world fighting these wicked problems in water, and I am excited to get to work.”

Silvia Landa: Commitments to the Water Action Agenda

The UN Water Conference brought together various stakeholders to generate voluntary commitments and catalyze actions on water-related issues. Participants discussed various issues, shared key lessons, proposed strategies and made commitments to the Water Action Agenda. My research is related to government actions, and the conference was of great interest to me because it gave me the opportunity to witness country representatives making commitments at a UN meeting. Some countries made specific and tangible targets whereas others made broader commitments. It was also fascinating to see countries use this opportunity to raise awareness about their specific issues and seek support from other nations. It would be intriguing to evaluate countries’ commitments further to track which ones follow through with their promises.

Lucy Tantum: Prioritizing water as a public health problem

The integration of water development with the strengthening of health systems emerged as a conference priority. As a student in an environmental engineering program that is housed within a public health school, I am already familiar with the ways that the environment intersects with health. Still, it was exciting to see country governments recognize safe water as an essential component of health service delivery. At the UNC Water Institute, I am involved in research to evaluate and improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in health care facilities. The UN Water conference led me to consider how my research can support governments not just in developing water infrastructure, but also in improving access to safe and high-quality health care more broadly.

Next steps for the water agenda

The Water Action Agenda, with over 830 commitments, is a global pledge for a water-secure world, and we believe our research can aid governments in their water and health initiatives. Upcoming UN events will build on the conference’s outcomes.

Discussions from the UN Water Conference carried on at the UNC Water Institute’s 14th annual Water and Health Conference in October, where more than 2,200 stakeholders, not just governments, exchanged insights and strategies for their water and health commitments.

NOTE: The UNC Water Institute recently completed its 14th annual conference October 23-27: waterinstitute.unc.edu/wh2023

Our 3 pillars for a healthier future

We strive toward a future where health is a universal right and the planet we call home is safeguarded for generations to come. In our pursuit of a healthier world, we’ve established three essential pillars to illustrate how we meet our mission.

  1. Preparedness: We aim to prevent crises; craft strong, empathetic health messages; support an immediate response to emergencies; and work with communities through their full recovery.
  2. Clean air and water: We study the systems, structures and pollutants that pose a threat to health, invent scalable solutions, and collaborate with leaders to create sustainable change.
  3. Healthy families and communities: We research chronic illness prevention, address health inequalities and curb harmful behaviors with population-level strategies.
Healthy communities: NC youth leaders champion vaping prevention at inaugural UNC-led summit
Fall 2023
HB
NC Youth Vaping Prevention Summit at UNC Gillings School engages young leaders in vaping prevention and advocacy efforts statewide.
READ MORE

The Youth Summit connected these high school advocates with leading researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill and experts at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Tobacco Prevention & Control Branch to learn about current efforts in vaping prevention, develop advocacy skills to use in their communities and build coalitions with other youth leaders in N.C. The youth leaders were joined by adult participants who work in vaping prevention or have a vested interest in youth engagement. Participants across the state traveled to Chapel Hill, from the mountains of Clay County to the beaches of New Hanover County, to harness the potential of youth advocacy and work towards a vape-free future for all N.C. teens.

The Youth Summit kicked off with a video message from N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein, who helped secure the $40 million JUUL settlement funding, underscoring the importance of evidence-based community action in efforts to prevent the harms of vaping among the state’s future generations.

“JUUL helped cause the youth vaping epidemic in N.C., and it is fitting that the JUUL Settlement funds are invested in supporting young people’s engagement in community-based action to reverse the harms that e-cigarettes have caused in our state,” said Kurt Ribisl, PhD, Jo Anne Earp Distinguished Professor and Chair of Health Behavior at the Gillings School.

An estimated one in seven U.S. high school students reported current use of vape products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means that nearly all students, parents, educators and those with teens in their lives have encountered e-cigarettes.

Peer advocacy is a powerful tool in the fight to prevent and address the health harms of e-cigarettes among young people.

“Youth are highly aware of issues in their communities that public health experts are actively working on,” said Inara Valliani, MPH, event co-organizer and program specialist at UNC’s Vaping Prevention Resource (VPR). “Opportunities like the N.C. Youth Vaping Prevention Summit elevate young people’s lived experiences and encourage them to inform effective change by building connections with local experts and decision-makers.”

“Youth walked away from the Summit feeling energized and empowered to bring all of the information learned to their communities,” said Caroline Ritchie, MPH, project manager for the Communicating for Health Impact Lab at the UNC Hussman School Journalism and Media. “Having a cross-generational Summit allowed not only the youth to learn from researchers and practitioners but allowed us to hear directly from youth about the issues that are important to them.”

Following the Youth Summit, participants were connected to their local N.C. Regional Tobacco Control Managers to support continued action and carry forward the momentum they built during the Summit. Participants will also have the opportunity later this year to apply for funding to support the action plans they devised at the Youth Summit.

VPR is a leading, non-commercial resource that provides communities with the latest vaping prevention resources and policy solutions. UNC researchers at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Gillings School and Hussman School founded VPR following years of collaboration on research to determine which communication, advocacy, community health and policy approaches are most successful in the fight against vaping and tobacco use. VPR guidance is used by local and national public health agencies, and their strategies shaped many of the workshops offered to participants in the Youth Summit.

We created VPR to vastly increase the research and dissemination of vaping prevention messages and policy solutions,” said Seth M. Noar, PhD, James Howard and Hallie McLean Parker Distinguished Professor at the Hussman School. “Hosting this youth summit helps us take those efforts to the next level by directly engaging with both youth and adult leaders in this space.”

Many additional members of the VPR team were involved in planning the Youth Summit, including Hannah Prentice-Dunn, MPH, program director at Lineberger. They were joined by local public health experts from NC DHHS, the Poe Center for Health Education, Counter Tools, the Center for Black Health & Equity, the Rural Community Action Program and the Orange Partnership for Alcohol & Drug-Free Youth.

Among the experts was Ray Riordan, MS, Director of Local Policy and Program Development for the NC DHHS Tobacco Prevention & Control Branch.

“We know that 90% of adults who smoke begin this deadly addiction at the age of 18 or younger,” Riordan said. “As a result, youth are important champions of change who can encourage their peers to be vape-free, urge lawmakers to take action and stand up to the vape industry’s predatory marketing.”

To learn more about the current landscape of vaping prevention, please visit VPR at vapingprevention.org. If you or a teen you know wants to quit vaping, text VAPEFREENC to 873373 to access free 24/7 coaching and support over text.

Our 3 pillars for a healthier future

We strive toward a future where health is a universal right and the planet we call home is safeguarded for generations to come. In our pursuit of a healthier world, we’ve established three essential pillars to illustrate how we meet our mission.

  1. Preparedness: We aim to prevent crises; craft strong, empathetic health messages; support an immediate response to emergencies; and work with communities through their full recovery.
  2. Clean air and water: We study the systems, structures and pollutants that pose a threat to health, invent scalable solutions, and collaborate with leaders to create sustainable change.
  3. Healthy families and communities: We research chronic illness prevention, address health inequalities and curb harmful behaviors with population-level strategies.
Healthy communities: Gillings School plays lead role in new Lancet Commission on Evidence-Based Implementation in Global Health
Fall 2023
MCH
The Lancet Commission on Evidence-Based Implementation in Global Health, co-led by the Gillings School, aims to enhance global health interventions' practice.
READ MORE

Advancements in science and technology have led to innovative health solutions that could help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the goal of health and well-being for all. But putting these interventions into practice equitably, sustainably and at scale is a huge challenge – one the new Commission strives to overcome through establishing the vision for evidence-based implementation in global health and developing a blueprint for achieving it.

In so doing, the Commission will strive to improve both the generation and the full and effective use of evidence for implementation. One approach the Commission will use is including the perspective of the implementers for whom the evidence is intended, including policymakers, program managers, front-line providers and funders. The Commission will work to ensure that these implementers are involved in the generation and use of the evidence.

The new Commission will be chaired by Herbert Peterson, MD, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of maternal and child health and obstetrics and gynecology at UNC-Chapel Hill and director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Research Evidence for Sexual and Reproductive Health. His co-chairs are Joy E. Lawn, MBBS, PhD, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Queen Dube, MBBS, PhD, from the Ministry of Health of Malawi. Joumana Haidar, DBA, deputy director of the WHO Collaborating Center at the Gillings School, will serve as the lead for the Secretariat. The Commission will be supported by an advisory group of experts in global health implementation that will provide input from the perspectives of key stakeholders on the needs for evidence-based implementation, including how best to build and sustain a global movement to meet those needs.

“We have made great progress in using our best science to create life-saving and life-enhancing interventions, and it is now time to do likewise for putting them into practice,” Peterson said.

The Commission’s priorities will include determining the current state of implementation evidence, the evidence that will be most helpful for improved implementation going forward, and how best to generate this evidence and support its full and effective use in practice.

“With this Commission, we have a wonderful opportunity to work toward achieving justice in implementation in global health. We will create a roadmap for building and applying the science needed to ensure that our most promising health innovations reach all those they are intended to serve,” Peterson said.

The Commissioners of the Lancet Commission on Evidence-Based Implementation In Global Health are Hanan F. Abdul Rahim, Niveen M. E. Abu-Rmeileh, Richard M. K. Adanu, Ross C. Brownson, David A. Chambers, Peter Cherutich, Elwyn Chomba, Komatra Chuengsatiansup, Queen Dube, Cyril M Engmann, Dean L. Fixsen, Patricia J. Garcia, Lisa R. Hirschhorn, Joy E. Lawn, Susan Michie, Joanna C. Moullin, Per Nilsen, Sania Nishtar, Obinna Onwujekwe, David Peiris, David H. Peters, Herbert B. Peterson, Stefan S. Peterson, Shankar Prinja, Helen Rees, Barbara K. Rimer, Jo Rycroft-Malone, Peter Waiswa, Judith N. Wasserheit, and Dong Roman Xu.

Learn more about The Lancet’s Commission on Evidence-Based Implementation in Global Health in The Lancet Letter at thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)00870-X/fulltext

Our 3 pillars for a healthier future

We strive toward a future where health is a universal right and the planet we call home is safeguarded for generations to come. In our pursuit of a healthier world, we’ve established three essential pillars to illustrate how we meet our mission.

  1. Preparedness: We aim to prevent crises; craft strong, empathetic health messages; support an immediate response to emergencies; and work with communities through their full recovery.
  2. Clean air and water: We study the systems, structures and pollutants that pose a threat to health, invent scalable solutions, and collaborate with leaders to create sustainable change.
  3. Healthy families and communities: We research chronic illness prevention, address health inequalities and curb harmful behaviors with population-level strategies.
Training the next generation of leaders
Fall 2023
General
The Gillings School marks its largest graduating class and achievements in academic training and support.
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A team led by leaders in student affairs and instructional technology launched Gillings Navigate, a new online system to strengthen the connection between students, academic coordinators and resources in the School and the University. Students can use Gillings Navigate to make an appointment; instantly schedule a meeting with an academic coordinator or other academic affairs professionals; and review their degree plan and advising reports, notes and other information provided by their academic coordinator. Students can set alerts and reminders and connect to wellbeing, career, funding and academic resources and support.

The School has implemented an external seasonal reviewer program for the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree to bring in community partners and public health professionals/alumni perspectives in the admissions process. We have also improved admitted student communication with the launch of the interactive MPH admitted student portal and a customized campaign highlighting various aspects of the Gillings community.

Drs. Laura Linnan and Rebecca Fry led a revision of the Gillings Appointment, Promotion and Tenure (APT) Manual, approved by the University in June. They also organized peer faculty mentoring panels to help enhance faculty mentoring of students in the School.

In preparation for a successful Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) reaccreditation in 2024, Gillings is participating in the self-study process which includes a peer review visit taking place Oct. 9 – 11, 2024. You can view the accreditation timeline and leadership on our website.

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