The Abstract: April 11, 2022

This Week @ Gillings: The Abstract

April 11, 2022

Whether you’re local or global, student or alumni, the Abstract’s weekly news digest will help you stay in the loop with our amazing Gillings School community.

Villarreal receives Aspen Institute fellowship

Naya Villarreal

Naya Villarreal

Congratulations to Naya Villarreal, MPH, Gillings Global Health associate director, who was recently awarded a fellowship with the prominent Aspen Institute.

Villarreal will attend Aspen Ideas: Health as a fellow in Aspen, Colorado on June 22-25. The event will be organized around six themes: Hope, Disruption, Get Smart, Influence, Pleasure, and Security.

Learn more.

Smith provides voice of reason during pandemic

Dr. Emily Smith

Emily Smith, PhD ’15 (epidemiology), is winner of Wayland Baptist University’s 2021 Distinguished Alumni award. Having recently relocated from Texas to work at the Duke Global Health Institute, she studies global health policy and issues, with a focus on strengthening health systems in low-income countries, health economics, global health policy and children’s surgery. The award recognizes her impact on academia and global public health. Smith created the Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist newsletter to “provide an epidemiologic view on COVID-19 for neighbors and friends.” Based this work, Wayland Baptist University’s director of public relations called her a “voice for research and reason during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Read more.

Smith also received the distinguished alumna award from national college honor society Alpha Chi on March 26, 2022.

Oberlander publishes commentary on Biden administration and health care reform

Dr. Jonathan Oberlander

Dr. Jonathan Oberlander

Jonathan Oberlander, PhD, professor of health policy and management and social medicine, has published a new perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine, titled “Health Care Reform under the Biden Administration — Broad Ambitions, Narrow Majorities.”

When Joe Biden campaigned to become president of the United States, he pledged to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), expand health insurance coverage and control prescription-drug prices. How did the first year of his presidency live up to these promises? Oberlander notes some of the reforms and challenges the current administration has tackled.

Read the full article online.

Shaikh published in Journal of Nutrition

Dr. Raz Shaikh

Dr. Raz Shaikh

Raz Shaikh, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and co-director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at UNC, has recently published a new article in the Journal of Nutrition, titled “Enriched Marine Oil Supplement Increases Specific Plasma Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators in Adults with Obesity.”

Specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM), synthesized from polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), resolve inflammation and return damaged tissue to homeostasis. Thus, increasing metabolites of the SPM biosynthetic pathway may have potential health benefits for select clinical populations such as those with obesity that display dysregulation of SPM metabolism. The study found that a marine oil supplement increased certain SPMs and their metabolic intermediates in adults with obesity.

Read the full study online.

Shoham to chair epidemiology department at East Tennessee State

David Shoham, PhD, has accepted a faculty position in the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University, where he will chair the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Shoham, who graduated from the UNC Gillings Department of Epidemiology in 2005, previously directed the Institute of Public Health, Public Health Programs and the Master of Public Health program at Loyola University Chicago.