Letdown after loss

A mixed week

I’ve been through the highs of winning NCAA championships and the lows of losing before the Final Four. I’ll take the highs anytime. I’ve noticed that when we lose earlier, like we did this year, there’s a kind of angst that clouds the week after. It’s not like everyone walks around saying “Poor us, isn’t it horrible.” It’s more that people aren’t quite themselves, and no one can say exactly why. That’s the kind of week it was, but every week has its ups and downs.

Anyway, there were some real pluses.

  • Fascinating discussion about big data with Chancellor Thorp and some of UNC-Chapel Hill’s leaders—using, managing, interpreting big data are becoming a way of life
  • Wonderful alumni event in Atlanta hosted by Gregory Strayhorn, PhD, MD, MPH (from Carolina!)—great to connect with our fabulous alumni in Atlanta—so impressive to hear what people have accomplished and how fond they are of the SPH
  • Meeting of advisory group for America’s Health Rankings which we support—using data to create very informative state-by-state summaries that provide rankings overall and in various key domains (e.g. obesity and smoking) with the thesis that states and regions can use data for self-improvement. Anna Schenck, PhD, from UNC-Chapel Hill, did an excellent job as chair. Reed Tuckson, MD, executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group, is the institutional impetus and charismatic figure behind the rankings and impresses me each time we interact with his razor sharp strategic focus. Someone made the comment that it’s easier to talk about bad health rankings than good ones, because there’s a clear message that comes with bad ones: we need to act. It’s not always clear how we improve when we’re doing pretty well.

This week—Joe DeSimone, PhD, at the SPH

Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD

I’m really looking forward to Joe DeSimone’s seminar, Innovations in Public Health: Micro Particles Macro Impact Tuesday night at 5:30pm in the SPH Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation Auditorium. Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD, Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill and William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of chemical engineering, NC State, is one of the smartest people on the planet. But what I really like about him and admire so much, beyond his creative productivity, is his strong belief that the university must be relevant to society. Joe has said: “You can do all the innovating you want in the laboratory, but if you can’t get it out of the university walls, you do no one any good.” That statement really applies to public health.

We’d love to have you come to the School Tuesday night at 5:30 pm to hear Dr. DeSimone. You won’t be disappointed.

Happy Monday.



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