From the Dean's desk (Fall, 2013)

Committed to North Carolina

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Dr. Barbara Rimer

In 2015, we mark the 75th anniversary of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. In this issue, we focus on some of the many faculty and staff members and students at the School whose work benefits North Carolina. We are committed today, as were those who came before us, to training tomorrow’s public health leaders for North Carolina and solving big public health problems. We are making the state and its people healthier, safer and stronger.

As a public school of public health, we are not just co-located in North Carolina. We are embedded in and committed to our state. Without being parochial (we are a global school of public health, after all), we take seriously the public in public health and have a long, proud tradition of serving the state first.

As a UNC faculty member from 1952 to 1982, the late Dr. Dan Okun, Kenan Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering, taught and conducted research about local drinking water supply and purity. His studies led to the development and 1988 completion of Cane Creek Reservoir, a resource that assured adequate water supply for people in Chapel Hill up to the present time.

In the 1990s, the practical, applied research of health behavior professors Geni Eng, Jo Anne Earp and others led to increases in mammography use among low-income, black women in eastern N.C., reducing cancer-related health disparities between black and white women.

These are two examples out of thousands.

We make a positive difference for the environment and health of North Carolinians. This issue provides great proof of that. I only wish there were space to cover all the exciting work we are doing in North Carolina.

Our success benefits the entire U.S. and the world, a reality that fuels our reputation as a premier school of public health. At the same time, our success accrues to N.C.—through the 5,500 or so jobs we create each year due to research funding; our 450 or so graduates each year, the majority of whom stay in N.C.; and through the knowledge we discover and the programs and products we develop and disseminate to North Carolinians.

Our future and North Carolina’s future are intertwined inextricably.

Charles Kuralt, journalist, UNC alumnus, and host of On the Road and Sunday Morning, understood this when he said at the 1993 UNC bicentennial:

…Our love for this place is based on the fact that it is, and was meant to be, the University of the people.

And that is as it should be. As a public school of public health, we are of the people.

Thank you for your support of the School! We welcome your feedback at any time.

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