New Gillings Award promotes dialogue on population and development

March 12, 2009
A new award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health will convene some of the world’s leading scientists to evaluate the link between population and the achievement of key international development goals and objectives.

Looking at these issues from a variety of angles and scientific perspectives, the expert working group, which will include representatives from leading academic institutions, multilateral agencies, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations, will be charged with evaluating the scientific evidence for the relationship between population growth and family planning on the elimination of hunger and poverty, the achievement of a sustainable environment and the reduction of maternal and child morbidity and mortality. The group will determine how best to interpret the available science and address key gaps in our understanding. Findings will be published in key scientific journals.

Dr. Herbert Peterson

Dr. Herbert Peterson

Herbert B. Peterson, MD, professor and chair of the department of maternal and child health in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the UNC School of Medicine, will lead the Gillings Award.

Amy Tsui, PhD, professor of population, family and reproductive health and director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explains, “There are important links between population, family planning and achievement of global maternal and child health. We need to understand those links more fully and use that understanding to develop effective interventions for eliminating unnecessary maternal and child deaths.”

“Creating a better understanding of the relationship between family planning and achievement of international development goals and objectives is both timely and important,” says David Canning, PhD, professor of economics and international health, department of global health and population, Harvard School of Public Health.

This award is funded by a gift to the School from Dennis and Joan Gillings.

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For more information on Gillings Awards, see

Note: Peterson can be reached at (919) 966-5721 or

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or