Rimer announces intent to appoint Mayer-Davis as nutrition chair

Dec. 16, 2013

A letter from Dean Barbara K. Rimer to the School community

We appreciate the time, candor and commitment of all the people who participated in the nutrition chair selection process.  We conducted an intensive internal selection process that involved faculty and staff members, students, alumni and other stakeholders from the two schools and the University. The majority of people in the department weighed in at each stage, and there was overwhelming support for Elizabeth (Beth) Mayer-Davis, PhD.

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Dr. Beth Mayer-Davis

We are pleased, then, to announce our intent to appoint Dr. Davis, professor and interim chair of nutrition, as the department’s permanent chair, pending approval from the UNC Board of Trustees. Nutrition is a joint department in the schools of public health and medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  We are confident that Dr. Mayer-Davis will be a superb leader and colleague for an outstanding department and for the schools. Her service as interim chair during these past seven months has been exemplary.

Briefly, Dr. Mayer-Davis has focused her distinguished career on diabetes, including the epidemiology and natural history of diabetes in children and adults. Her research addresses the many ways in which nutrition can affect diabetes risk, especially for children.

She holds a Master of Science in Public Health from the University Of Colorado School of Medicine and a doctoral degree in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley.  She is author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, with a research agenda supported for many years through major research grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health (including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Center for Resources, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute). 

She is principal investigator for the Carolina site of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study and serves as national chair for this large multi-center study. She also conducts translational research to develop, implement and evaluate interventions to facilitate improvement in diabetes self-management, metabolic status and quality of life for people diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, particularly for those in medically- underserved communities.

Like the Department of Nutrition, Dr. Mayer-Davis’s own research spans from basic science to highly applied research. She is committed to nurturing all aspects of the department and to seek even greater integration between the schools of medicine and public health.

Dr. Mayer-Davis is very active in the American Diabetes Association and was the Association’s 2011 president for health care and education. In 2011, she also was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. In short, Dr. Mayer-Davis is an accomplished academic leader with the track record and leadership skills to move the department and School forward.

Nutrition is an outstanding department, and we are confident that the next chair will maintain that reputation and, working with you, propel the department forward. We will let you know as soon as the appointment is official.


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Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.