SPH Weekly E-News

July 6, 2015

Throughout the summer, the weekly e-news will be published every other week. Announcements for the remainder of this period should be submitted by noon on the following dates: July 17, July 31 and Aug. 14. Weekly distribution will return on Aug. 17.


Recent news


Depression can be treated well in HIV care, study finds

With appropriate support, people with HIV/AIDS can manage their depression effectively, according to a new study co-led by Brian Wells Pence, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School. However, effective depression treatment  even when combined with brief counseling about the importance of HIV medication adherence  did not lead to improvements in adherence or health outcomes in study participants.


Study finds low-income children benefit from preventive oral health services

Oral health services, delivered by primary care clinicians and designed to prevent dental caries (cavities) in young children, can improve the oral health of kindergartners enrolled in Medicaid, according to a new study by three researchers affiliated with the Gillings School. However, more effort is required to coordinate services between medical and dental practitioners so the children’s improved oral health care can be continued over time.


SSRIs may increase fracture risk in middle-aged women without psychiatric disorders

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. SSRIs are highly effective at reducing these symptoms, but little is known about the risks associated with SSRI use in patients without mental disorders. A team of researchers including Til Stürmer, MD, PhD, professor and director of the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology, and Virginia Pate, MS, applications analyst, both with the Department of Epidemiology at the Gillings School, examined the impact of SSRI use on fracture risk in women from 40 to 64 years old with no record of mental illness.


ESE’s Luettich to serve as principal investigator at new Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence

On June 23, the Department of Homeland Security announced a $20 million award to UNC over five years to conduct research and provide public education on ways to reduce harm from coastal natural disasters. Rick Luettich, ScD, principle investigator at the new center, is also the director of UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences and a jointly appointed professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Gillings School.


Study finds availability of parks and recreational facilities lower in some predominantly minority neighborhoods

A new study across six regions of the United States concluded that the availability of physical activity resources, such as parks and recreational facilities, can vary by locations’ sociodemographic characteristics. Sydney A. Jones, a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Gillings School, led the study. Jones and Kelly R. Evenson, PhD, research professor of epidemiology at the School, worked with co-authors from Drexel University, the University of Michigan and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Characklis elected to lead Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors

Greg Characklis, PhD, professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the Gillings School, has been elected president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP). After serving the past year as President-elect, he took office as President at the June 2015 AEESP Conference, hosted by Yale University.


O’Malley, former health policy and management faculty member, passes away

Michael O’Malley, PhD, associate director of UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and adjunct associate professor of health policy and management at the Gillings School, passed away unexpectedly on June 24. A memorial to honor him and reflect on his life and service will be held Saturday, August 22.


Taxes may discourage purchase of sugared and high-fat beverages in households with young children, study finds

Researchers at the Gillings School have determined that taxing high-calorie beverages may help persuade families of preschool children in the U.S. to buy fewer such beverages and perhaps to buy fewer high-calorie foods, as well. The study, led by Gillings School alumnus Christopher Ford, PhD, and co-authored by Shu Wen Ng, PhD, and Barry M. Popkin, PhD, both from the Gillings School’s Department of Nutrition, was published in the Journal of Nutrition.


Christie Degener is new interim director of Health Sciences Library

Degener, formerly the head of Resources Management Services and interim assistant director, will move into the role of interim director of the Heath Sciences Library as of August 1, 2015. Read more at http://ow.ly/OKo4Y.


Gillings alumna, living organ donor, elected president of OPTN/UNOS board of directors

Betsy J. Walsh, JD, vice president and deputy general counsel for Novant Health, Inc., has been elected president of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS) board of directors. She will serve a one-year term beginning in July 2015. Walsh earned a master’s degree in public health from the Gillings School.


Dean’s office asks Gillings staff to complete online survey

Gillings School staff who have yet to complete the Qualtrics online survey to provide feedback about the Schoolwide staff meeting on Tuesday, June 23, are asked to complete the survey by Friday, July 10. It should take fewer than 10 minutes. Also, please note that meeting materials, including a video recording and all slide presentations, are available online for viewing and downloading. Please call the Dean’s office at (919) 996-3215 if you have any questions.


Events and deadlines for July 6–19

The SPH Events Calendar is now available for iCal, Google Calendar and other apps.


Gillings community invited to enjoy summer ‘stress recess’ activities

Mindful relaxation sessions:
Tuesday, July 7 and Thursday, July 9
12:451 p.m.

Yoga classes:
July 6, 13, 20, 27 and Aug. 3 (Mondays)
Noon12:30 p.m.

2304 McGavran-Greenberg Hall

On behalf of the School’s Culture of Health initiative, all members of the Gillings community are invited to participate in mindful relaxation sessions and yoga classes throughout the summer.

Please contact mps3@email.unc.edu if you have any questions.


NC TraCS to host Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) 2015 training course

Monday, July 6–Friday, July 10
8 a.m.–noon (daily)
G202 Medical Biomolecular Research Building

David Weber and Susan Pusek of NC TraCS will lead a one-week RCR training course. All individuals who are funded on an NIH-sponsored training, career development, research education or dissertation award or NSF-sponsored research project must have RCR training. See this link for more information.


SOPHAS Virtual Fair shares Gillings programs with prospective students

Wednesday, July 8 and Thursday, July 9
9 a.m.–4 p.m. (daily)

Those interested in learning about the Gillings School can register here to join department representatives virtually and learn more about the programs offered at the School. See the agenda (PDF) for specific departmental session times both days.

Contact Johnston King, jking3@email.unc.edu, if you have any questions.


Volunteers needed for Granville Vance Community Health Assessment

Wednesday, July 8–Saturday, July 11 and
Wednesday, July 15–Saturday, July 18

This assessment offers an opportunity to practice data collection in collaboration with local health department staff and to give back to the community. Expenses will be reimbursed. Learn more at the Team Epi-Aid website and contact Matt Simon, mattsimon@unc.edu, to learn more and sign up.


High school students to deliver Summer Symposium final presentations

Tuesday, July 14
2—3:30 p.m.
133 Rosenau Hall

These final presentations will mark the end of Session II of the Gillings School’s 2015 Summer Public Health Symposium for High School Students. All are invited to attend the closing ceremony.

Please contact Trinnette Cooper, coopert@email.unc.edu, if you have any questions.


Summer HAVEN sessions announced

Monday, July 13 (1–4 p.m.) and
Friday, July 31 (9 a.m.–noon)

In response to staff interest, the Carolina Women’s Center has scheduled two summer HAVEN sessions. The HAVEN program trains students, staff and faculty to be informed and empathetic supporters to those who have experienced sexual or interpersonal violence or stalking. Please register for a session through the HAVEN page.


Upcoming events and deadlines


Closing ceremony to celebrate work of summer undergraduate researchers

Thursday, July 23
15 p.m.
2301 McGavran-Greenberg Hall

The Gillings School has partnered with Morehouse College and Project IMHOTEP for the UNC Summer Public Health Fellowship Program. This eleven-week internship is designed to increase the knowledge and skills of juniors, seniors and recent graduates in biostatistics, epidemiology and occupational safety and health. As part of the program, the undergraduates/recent graduates spend nine weeks conducting public health research with experts at the Gillings School, which culminates in these final presentations.

Please contact Trinnette Cooper, coopert@email.unc.edu, if you have any questions.


Fulbright Canada Programs accepting applications

Faculty and students of the Gillings School (who are U.S. citizens) are invited to apply to the Fulbright Canada Programs. These programs range from four months to three years in length and offer stipends between $12,500 and $120,000. Please visit www.fulbright.ca/ to find more information and see the full list of research themes. The application deadline for faculty and PhD holders is Aug. 3; the deadline for graduate students is Oct. 13.

Faculty and PhD holders: please contact Brad Hector, bhector@fulbright.ca, Program Officer for Scholars, if you have any questions.

Graduate students: please contact Michelle Emond, memond@fulbright.ca, Program Officer for Students, if you have any questions.


School-wide event to welcome new and returning students

Monday, August 17
89:30 a.m.
133 Rosenau Hall

Gillings is eager to welcome new and returning students for the 20152016 school year. The event schedule is as follows:

  • 8 a.m. Breakfast
  • 8:45 a.m. Welcome from Dean Barbara K. Rimer
  • 9:30 a.m. Departmental sessions

Please contact Natiaya Neal, nneal@email.unc.edu, if you have any questions.


Memorial service to honor Dr. Michael O’Malley

Saturday, August 22
Time TBA
G200 Genome Sciences Building

Michael O’Malley, PhD, associate director of UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and adjunct associate professor of health policy and management at the Gillings School, passed away unexpectedly on June 24. Read more in School News. A memorial service to honor Dr. O’Malley will be held in August; the time of the event has yet to be determined.

In his memory, please consider donating to the Michael S. O’Malley Cancer Prevention Fund at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The fund will carry on his passionate life’s work by funding innovative education and research initiatives at UNC Lineberger.

For updates on the memorial service and details on donating memorial gifts, and to share your thoughts and reflections with Dr. O’Malley’s family, please visit http://michael.web.unc.edu. His obituary can be found here.

NCHS seeks exhibitors for 2015 National Conference on Health Statistics

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is currently accepting applications to exhibit at the 2015 National Conference on Health Statistics, to be held August 24–26, 2015, in Bethesda, Maryland. The conference focuses on the critical importance of public health data in making an impact on the health and well-being of the U.S. population. Registration for the main two-day conference is free; more than 1,000 people are expected to attend. If you are interested in exhibiting at the conference, you can access more information at www.cdc.gov/nchs/events/2015nchs/.

Contact conference coordinator Jennifer Adona, Jenniferk@capconcorp.com, if you have any questions.


Registration now open for NCHICA’s 21st annual Conference and Exhibition

Sunday, Sept. 13–Wednesday, Sept. 16
Pinehurst, N.C.

The theme of the North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance’s (NCHICA’s) 21st annual Conference and Exhibition is “Transforming Healthcare from Volume to Value.” The program will feature over 40 speakers, four plenary sessions and 21 breakout sessions on population health, health information exchange and technology topics. For further details on registration fees and deadlines, click here.


World Health Assembly simulation seeks participants

Friday, Oct. 2
Noon–6:30 p.m.
Armfield Atrium, Michael Hooker Research Center

AMWHO is the only World Health Assembly (WHA) simulation in the Unites States. It aims to engage and educate undergraduate and graduate students in the plethora of global health opportunities. Participants send a working resolution to the WHA in Geneva, Switzerland. Learn more and register online; enjoy a discounted $50 early bird registration fee if you sign up prior to Aug. 15.

Contact Samantha Croffut, samcroff@live.unc.edu, if you have any questions.


Public health tour to Nicaragua now accepting applications from faculty, staff, students

Sponsored by the Sister Communities of San Ramon, Nicaragua, this trip will take place January 2-8, 2016 and offer an opportunity to learn more about public health in a developing nation. For more information, contact Leslie Zeldin, lpzeldin@gmail.com, or 919-357-6368.


How to send announcements through this listserv:

To submit an event or announcement, please complete the form located at https://sph.unc.edu/comm/announcements-form/.

For all submissions:

  • Events and announcements posted by noon each Friday will be included in the following week’s email and newletter, which is sent on Mondays.
  • Requests posted after noon on Friday will be added to the website as soon as possible and will be featured in subsequent emails.