Naming events, new exhibits and the way forward

Monday after


Last week was quite a week, wasn’t it! Thanks to all of you who came to the naming events including Tuesday’s Global Health Fair and Friday’s naming celebration. The Global Health Fair was a lot of fun, and I was really impressed by the global research our students are doing. We will post on the School’s LCD screens and on this blog a list of people I especially want to thank for their efforts in making last week a wonderful experience and a real testimony to the value of public health.


For people who could not be at the event, we had an impressive naming celebration at which President Bowles, Chancellor Thorp, PhD, Board of Trustees Chair Roger Perry, State Health Director and Director, Division of Public Health, NC DHHS, Leah Devlin, DDS, MPH, and Student Government Co-President Lauren Thie spoke. I was very proud of the job Lauren did representing our students. The way all the speakers talked about the importance of public health in today’s world was really striking. Because of the celebration, a lot of people came to the School and heard about public health’s importance and this School’s value. It was really a rush to look up at three levels of the atrium and see so many of you there for the event. That’s important, because although some kind words were said about me, the reputation of the School and our ability to deliver on people’s expectations are dependent on all of us. I could not have stood there had it not been for all of you and all the people who came before us. I loved the band Big Fat Gap (thanks to Kathryn Johnson and Mae Beale for finding them) and hope folks enjoyed them and the picnic. It was pretty amazing that the sun came out as the ceremony ended.


The way forward

gillings-5.jpgWe are very fortunate to have received the very generous gift from Dennis and Joan Gillings. I believe we have made very wise investments that are starting to bear fruit. We will continue to treat the funds (about half of which remain in endowment) with great care and respect, and there will be lots of discussion about how to assure that, as priorities evolve, we remain nimble. Managing Director Julie MacMillan, MPH, and her Carolina Public Health Solutions staff have done a superb job.

I also believe that the world shifted subtly last week; more will be expected of us, and we must deliver on reasonable expectations. Each speaker addressed the imperative for us to serve North Carolina. Dennis Gillings, CBE, exhorted the School to think globally and act locally, a perspective very much in line with public health. I’d like to see more discussion within the School about how best to serve our state. Of course, we have the very excellent North Carolina Institute for Public Health, but there also is a lot of other activity from all sectors of the School. Are there ways we can do a better, more coordinated job of serving North Carolina?

gillings-1.jpgAs most of you know, President Bowles’ UNC Tomorrow initiative is heavily dependent on our ability to deliver. And we also recognize that service is one–but only one—of the many expectations for the School. To all the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who wonder if we’re going to turn away from North Carolina, let me repeat what I said at the ceremony: “Hear me now, we are more committed to North Carolina than ever before.” So watch us, get involved, give us ideas and help us!

Our Web site redesign

Our new-look Web site was launched on Friday, and I hope you will agree that it looks fantastic! Communications and Instructional and Information Systems (IIS) worked very hard and it shows.  Special thanks to Kathy Barboriak, PhD, Jay Cartwright, Ramona DuBose, Charlie Hitlin, MS, Will Foushee, Patrick Gale, BSc, Chris Perry, Dave Potenziani, PhD, Jennings & Co, SPH Web Council and the 60+ content managers across the School. They did great! If you haven’t explored our redesigned Web site yet, please do. We welcome your feedback.


If you get a chance, go to the Health Sciences Library (HSL) exhibit about our School. I am totally blown away by how wonderful it is.  I am grateful for its contribution to understanding the impact of our School and how public health challenges both have changed and remained constant. I love the way the history of North Carolina public health was delved into, uncovering fascinating artifacts and even the song “It’s up to you.” This is a great example of how the HSL serves the health sciences schools. Kudos to Linda Kastleman, Communications Manger here at our School, Daniel Smith, JD, Special Collections Librarian, and all the people who worked on this project.

Check out the wonderful photos, taken by many of you, now hung on the first floor of Rosenau Hall. Thanks to all who contributed their photos and to Rob Kark, MBA, Brent Wishart and Linda Kastleman for creating a stunning gallery!

Also, there is an exhibit of recent books published by our faculty installed in the 2nd floor atrium of the Michael Hooker Research Center thanks to Linda Kastleman.

This week

I am off to National Institutes of Health (NIH) to give a talk on the intersection of genetics and public health. A number of people in this School were very generous in sharing slides; thank you Kari North, PhD, Rebecca Fry, PhD, Ivan Rusyn, MD, PhD, and Steve Zeisel, MD, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor. Thanks to Vangie Foshee, PhD for sharing her innovation project. Friday, one of my students, Jennifer Gierisch, will defend her dissertation (Jo Anne Earp, ScD, HBHE Interim Chair is dissertation chair). Go Jennifer!

Start making plans for voting day. It’s nearly right around the corner. I hope some of you will volunteer for the candidate of your choice and help get out the vote. The stakes in this election are so high.

It’s a beautiful day at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (Thank you Fred Rogers.). Happy Monday. Barbara

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