Travel, grants and the UNC Wellness Super Sprint Triathlon

Been away — a few quick thoughts

Travel seems to go in batches. I’m nearing the end of three almost back-to-back trips — California, Texas and Georgia. The deans from schools of public health met in California a couple weeks ago. In the four years I have been attending the meetings, turnover in deans is dramatic, so dramatic, that I am becoming a senior dean! And the number of schools continues to rise each year — now, we are 40. States increasingly see schools of public health as valuable. I worry that if we don’t step up the training pace, we will all be competing for a very finite number of students and faculty, especially minority students and faculty. I really value discussions with fellow deans. We share many common challenges and struggles — like the 2009 budget crisis. No matter how bad the budget crisis may seem here at times, it’s much worse many other places. I’m grateful that North Carolina has been so supportive of its universities.

Reading on the road

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The Kindle, an electronic reader, is really great for traveling on the road. The fact that it can be loaded with books and magazines is great for an over-packer like me. (By the time I have packed work and workout clothes, I’m always right at the carry-on limit.) I read Fool’s Gold by Gillian Tett on the California trip. It’s a fascinating look at the banking crisis and how we got into the mess that helped to fuel a global economic crisis. One cautionary note is the focus on banking innovations that few could understand-perhaps something for people in public health and medicine to ponder. Innovation is important, but not innovation merely for the sake of innovation.

For several years, I rarely read anything that wasn’t non-fiction, but I’ve gotten back into some fiction, including a fascinating mystery series by Josephine Winspear that has a very public health theme running through it-infectious disease deaths to disproportionately poorer people in the aftermath of World War I, suffering of soldiers that is forgotten as people move on after war and attention to the emotional toll of war. I’ve now read all the books in the Maisie Dobbs series and was captivated. Usually, on a long plane ride, I intersperse a stack of journal articles with a few more light reads-my own reward system. There’s a lot to read these days. No general journal is covering health reform more consistently and thoroughly than the New England Journal of Medicine.

New grants and articles to and by School’s faculty

Check out our home page to view the slides with news about new grants to our faculty and articles published by faculty, many with student co-authors. They’ve really done great in landing new grants to address significant research questions.

UNC Wellness Super Sprint Triathlon

Congratulations to Charlotte Nuñez-Wolff and Viktor Bovberg (and anyone else in the School) who completed the UNC Wellness Triathlon Sunday, Aug. 9, a hot, muggy summer day. The race website described the course this way: after a 5 lap swim, athletes transition to a rolling 9 mile bike course and rolling 5K run. Let me tell you, it’s more than a rolling run, speaking as someone whose house is on the route, and my street is quite a hill on the way to the finish line.

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