We at the School and UNC got organized for pandemic flu a couple years ago when there was a lot of concern about the H5N1 flu strain becoming a pandemic. Fortunately, so far it has not. And while we all were becoming perhaps a bit too complacent, a new type of swine flu (H1N1) came upon us. The White House has declared a public health emergency. We are assessing the situation to determine what actions are appropriate. Meanwhile, for credible information, see the CDC Web site on swine flu. It tracks numbers of cases, what people can do to prevent flu transmission, travel information and related information. At present, this is a situation that calls for careful tracking and monitoring and prudent action. It calls for vigilance rather than alarm.
Graduate School awards
I was really pleased last Monday (April 20) to attend the Graduate School’s recognition event for students who received Graduate Education Advancement Board impact awards. It was impressive how many of our students received awards that recognize positive impact of a student’s work on North Carolina. While we may now have global in our name, what we do in North Carolina matters so much. I am very grateful to the 6 public health students who received these awards. Elizabeth Tarrone, Epidemiology, was honored with the Boka W. Hadzija Award for Distinguished University Service. Our students also received other awards as well, including induction into two different honorary societies (6 students), prestigious external fellowships (44 students), and best graduate student posters (2 students). I enjoyed viewing students’ posters and discussing their work with them.
Jan Dodds’ retirement
Thursday afternoon, I attended a lovely retirement party for Jan Dodds, PhD, professor of nutrition and of maternal and child health. During her career here, Jan did a wonderful job of integrating research and practice and working on problems that really matter to people-such as hunger and obesity (ironically, two different sides of nutrition), trained a new type of child care worker (with Jonathan Kotch, MD and others) for day care centers and so much more. She really reached out to health departments and other service providers and forged alliances that have endured. Most recently, she helped us develop a School-wide mentoring program. While the budget crisis is causing us to at least temporarily cut back the School-wide part of it, many of the topics and principles will endure. June Stevens did a great job as emcee, Sherry Roberts organized a beautiful spread of healthy foods, and members of our faculty gave some really moving tributes. I am always struck by how many things our faculty and staff members do outside the School. I had no idea that Jan is a very accomplished singer. Members of Crooked Creek, a local group, came to serenade her and us. They were really fabulous. Jan seems to be thriving in retirement.
I was very saddened to learn about the death last week of 2007 ESE alumna, Joanna Park, PhD, in an automobile accident near here. Although I did not know her personally, the deaths of our students and alumni feel very personal to me.
The outside of the School really looks great. I especially love the purple verbenas. Rob Kark, MBA and Brent Wishart do a fabulous job of managing the buildings and grounds. Linda Kastleman took these beautiful photos.
Graduation is right around the corner. The UNC speaker will be Desmond Tutu. What a wonderful opportunity to hear one of the most revered men alive today. And we will hear from Gary Grant, an environmental activist from eastern North Carolina. He will have an important message about what citizens can achieve. Unfortunately, his family is engaged in a struggle to save their own farm. Steve Wing and some other people are trying to help.
Best wishes to all our students on their remaining finals.
Happy Monday. Barbara