Lynn Blanchard is focus of Carolina Alumni Review's Campus Profile

December 12, 2005
Lynn Blanchard, two-time HBHE alumnae (’85 MPH, ’89 PhD) and clinical associate professor in the department, was featured recently in the Carolina Alumni Review (November/December 2005) for her work as director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. Established in 1999, the Center has worked to increase campus awareness of, and participation in, public service and has supported it in numerous ways. Specifically, the article profiled the good work the Center has been doing recently under Lynn’s leadership, both in terms of the programs it has championed and the way it has increased awareness across campus of how service can be incorporated into the work of the University. As the article notes, “The Center has become a launching pad for people who want to get involved,” and this is due in no small measure, the article suggests, to Lynn’s efforts.As one example of Lynn’s innovative approach to cultivating public service, in January 2003, the Center developed the Public Service Scholars Program, which helps cultivate the commitment and skills of students performing public service and thus improves the quality of life for people in the community, the state, and beyond. The impact of the program has been impressive, with students learning about effective approaches to outreach, including the importance of dedication and consistency so that they can actually see the outcomes of their efforts.

Students and alumni in HBHE won’t be surprised to find out that Lynn models the public service behavior she advocates for, such as when she drove students in a bus to western North Carolina last year to provide assistance after a major flood. She is also creative in reaching out beyond North Carolina when the need arises. Most of the Center for Public Service’s activities focus on needs within the state, but it also reached out after the South Asia tsunami and the gulf states disaster. Even as some efforts in response to Hurricane Katrina are starting to wind down, the Center (in conjunction with the Campus Y and the APPLES program) is planning service trips to hurricane-affected regions and assistance for Katrina evacuees now living in North Carolina. As suggested by these endeavors, the Center does far more than support disaster response efforts, such as when the School of Public Health’s Team Epi-Aid partners with the State Health Department immediately following a hurricane. It also focuses on longer-term disaster relief, which allow service providers the time to stop and ask, “What do you need?” and then tailor projects to the requests of the recipients, according to Lynn.

HBHE grads will no doubt recognize this approach. As Lynn herself put it, “In all that I am doing, I find myself depending on much of what I learned (and taught!) in HBHE. I insisted on the use of that old socio-ecologic perspective (though we don’t call it that) in the orientation of our Public Service Scholars – and certainly the idea of responding to the needs of communities as they identify them is fundamental.”

For those wishing to read the profile on Lynn, contact the General Alumni Association via email at alumni@unc.edu (or by phone at 919-962-1208 or toll free 877-377-7125).

For further information please contact Catherine Vorick either by phone at 919-966-3918 or by email at cvorick@email.unc.edu