Research Themes

Water is one of the many global research themes we focus on.  Photo by Linn Bergander

Water is one of the many global research themes we focus on. Photo by Linn Bergander

Research Themes  |  Strategic Initiatives

Research Themes

The Gillings School has expertise in almost every imaginable area of public health; we currently have five strategic initiatives and some of our strongest expertise lies in these theme areas below. Learn more about our strengths and the School leaders who are making a difference.

There are striking common themes running through all the areas of strength below.

  • First, interdisciplinary collaboration and partnerships are key, since big public health problems cannot be solved in silos.
  • Second, local health is global health – our cutting-edge work has relevance both in North Carolina and in far-flung corners of the globe.
  • Third, we focus on real-world problems with practical, scalable solutions – no ivory towers at the Gillings School!

To review some of our areas of strength, click on each specific strength below to read more. 

Strategic Initiatives

If we want to achieve impact that transforms the public’s health, focus is essential.  No organization can be all things to all people.

At the Gillings School, we have chosen five strategic priorities because of their importance in both North Carolina and around the globe.

  • End the obesity epidemic. Obesity affects the health and well-being of current and future generations, causing a dramatic upsurge in chronic diseases and shortening lives in North Carolina and in emerging economies around the world.
  • Defeat cancer. Cancer claims the lives of half a million Americans and 7.5 million people globally each year.
  • Eliminate health disparities and promote health equity. We want to ensure that people from marginalized groups in the U.S. and in other countries no longer suffer higher rates of disease and early death because they have poorer access to healthy living environments and health services.
  • Drive policy and practice initiatives that ensure safe water and sanitation in the Southeastern U.S. and globally.
  • Improve global health. Epidemics and environmental threats know no borders, but in recognition that global partnerships can bring new opportunities to North Carolina and our partners for learning, innovation and economic advancement.