The Abstract: October 11, 2021
October 11, 2021
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.
New research funding for youth violence prevention, local reparations and veteran communities
Three Gillings School faculty members have recently received funding to support important public health research.
Anna Austin, PhD, assistant professor of maternal and child health, received an award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the project titled “Examining State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Policies as a Primary Prevention Strategy for Early Life Exposure to Violence and other Adverse Childhood Experiences.” The purpose of the award is to advance understanding of what works to prevent violence impacting children and youth, collectively referred to as adverse childhood experiences.
Tamarie Macon, PhD, assistant professor of public health leadership, is co-primary investigator on a 2-year Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded project titled “Black Community’s Vision for and Accountability of a Local Reparations Process.” The project is being done in conjunction with the Asheville Racial Justice Coalition.
Vaughn Upshaw, DrPH, EDD, professor of public health leadership, was awarded $1.2M from the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System for a 2-year project titled “Building Veteran Healthy Communities.” The focus is on improving connections between veterans and mental health resources in communities with a goal of suicide prevention.
Brewer co-authors commentary on uncoupling vaccination from politics
Noel Brewer, PhD, Gillings Distinguished Professor in Public Health, is co-author on a recent publication in The Lancet titled “Uncoupling vaccination from politics: a call to action.” Brewer is part of the Lancet Commission on Vaccine Refusal, Acceptance, and Demand in the USA, which published the piece in response to the political polarization that is impeding the progress of COVID-19 vaccination in America.
“Today, the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the United States of America are overwhelmingly in Republican-leaning states and counties,” the authors wrote. “At a time when the delta variant is spreading, these are also the areas experiencing surges in admissions to hospital and intensive care. If political divides on COVID-19 vaccination become ingrained, the consequences could include greater resistance to all vaccination and outbreaks of other vaccine-preventable diseases. Understanding and countering this trend are urgent public health priorities.”
NCIPH participates in annual Tar Heel Service Day event
North Carolina is number one in sweet potatoes, as North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) staff saw for themselves on Oct. 8 as part of the annual Tar Heel Service Day event. The group volunteered at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. NCIPH serves the state and its communities — today and every day!
Hincapie-Castillo joins NPAC board of directors
Juan M. Hincapie-Castillo, PharmD, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology, has been appointed to the board of directors for the National Pain Advocacy Center (NPAC). NPAC is a non-profit policy-focused advocacy organization (non-industry funded) that brings a group of scientists, clinicians and civil rights advocates together with people with lived experience to advance the health and human rights of people in pain.
Pain is the number one cause of disability globally and, in the United States, nearly 20 million people have pain that prevents life activities and work. “Several policies implemented to mitigate the opioid crisis in the U.S. have led to adverse consequences to people living with pain, and we need to continue working to ensure proper access to all treatments,” Hincapie-Castillo said.
“There are well-documented health disparities in the treatment of pain and a lot of stigma and bias that affect proper pain treatment.” Hincapie-Castillo said, emphasizing that pain is a human rights and equity issue.
Previously to his appointment to the board of directors, Hincapie-Castillo served as a founding advisor for the Science and Policy Council in NPAC. He is currently holding a fundraiser to support the #RealPainStories public awareness campaign by running a 100-mile race in March 2022