This Week @ Gillings: The Abstract

January 9, 2023

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.

Rosamond wins mentoring award from American Heart Association

Dr. Wayne Rosamond

Dr. Wayne Rosamond

Congratulations to Professor Wayne D. Rosamond on being named the 2023 recipient of the American Heart Association’s EPI Mentoring Award! The award highlights the importance of superior mentoring in cardiovascular epidemiologic research by honoring a person who has provided exceptional individual and institutional mentoring and advocacy for cardiovascular epidemiology researchers.

Rosamond will be honored at the EPI|Lifestyle Scientific Sessions 2023 from Feb. 28 – March 3 in Boston, MA.

Gillings researchers publish new study on therapeutic diversion units in NC prisons

Researchers in the Gillings School’s departments of epidemiology and maternal and child health, in collaboration with the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and Division of Public Health, have published a new study in Preventative Medicine on the sustained impact of therapeutic diversion units on prison populations in N.C.

TDUs are evidence-based multidisciplinary treatment units designed to decrease incidents involving violence, self-injury, and behavioral problems and to enhance the overall care and custody of individuals with mental health disorders. They are intended to reduce the cycling of people with mental health conditions through restrictive housing, such as solitary confinement.

Molly Remch

Molly Remch

“In prior work, we found that TDUs had notable benefits to enrollees’ behavior and mental health during program enrollment,” said first author Molly Remch, a doctoral student in epidemiology. “However, when investigating the duration of those benefits, we had mixed results. This study suggests that while innovative prison programming can be beneficial for incarcerated persons, these programs do not exist in siloes. As incarcerated persons leave intensive therapeutic programming and return to standard prison practices, they may struggle to maintain these benefits. We believe that individuals completing the TDU program in North Carolina prisons may benefit from continued expanded access to mental health treatment.”

The new study examines whether previously identified benefits of TDU are sustained when individuals return to the general prison population. Using administrative data on 3,170 people, the researchers compared individuals placed in TDUs to TDU-eligible individuals (i.e., individuals with mental health needs) placed in restrictive housing. Compared to restrictive housing placement, they found that TDU placement reduced the hazard of infractions and subsequent restrictive housing placement but increased the hazard of self-harm upon program release to the general prison population.

“While we were pleased to see that TDUs were associated with reduced readmission to restrictive housing, we observed that over one-third of individuals were admitted to restrictive housing within three months of completing the TDU program,” said Remch. “Given the numerous known negative health consequences of restrictive housing, continued work to reduce the frequency and duration of restrictive housing assignment is critically needed.”

Additional co-authors include Charles Mauch, Anna Austin, Gary Junker, Steve Marshall, Scott Proescholdbell and Rebecca Naumann.

Read the full study online.

Martinez named to Global Virus Network’s Rising Star Mentorship Program

Dr. David Martinez

Dr. David Martinez

David Martinez, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in epidemiology, is among 11 awardees who will receive training and mentorship to help support and propel their rising careers in virology as a part of the Global Virus Network’s Rising Star Mentorship Program. The newly elected members span eight countries around the globe.

As the only coalition of its kind, the GVN Rising Star Mentorship Program offers a rare opportunity for future virology leaders to collaborate with key researchers, medical practitioners, and decision-makers driving scientific, evidence-based solutions for some of today’s largest challenges in public health.

Congratulations, David!

Read the full announcement.

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