This Week @ Gillings: The Abstract

October 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.


Hatcher publishes UN Women innovation brief, paper with PLoS Digital Health

Dr. Abigail Hatcher

Dr. Abigail Hatcher

Abigail Hatcher, PhD, assistant professor of health behavior at the Gillings School, has co-authored a knowledge brief with Alexandra de Filippo for United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) titled “Innovation and Prevention of Violence against Women.” 

The brief outlined the UN’s goal of eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) by 2030. The goal of the brief aimed to inspire and encourage policymakers and researchers on how innovation can strengthen the prevention of VAWG. 

Hatcher then published a paper titled “Effects of digital chatbot on gender beliefs and exposure to intimate partner violence among young women in South Africa” on the results of the trial on the development of a chatbot for reducing partner violence in assistance with the Behaviour Insights Team (BIT). 

The trial introduced a cost-effective digital intervention, which significantly reduced young women’s exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV).  

Roberson’s work in cancer research featured as part of Victoria’s Secret Global Fund for Women’s Cancers

Dr. Mya Roberson

Dr. Mya Roberson

Mya Roberson, PhD, MSPH, assistant professor of health policy and management, has received funding through a Career Development Award from the American Association for Cancer Research in Partnership with Victoria’s Secret and Pelotonia. Victoria’s Secret recently featured Roberson as part of a series of profiles on 10 Global Fund recipients.

Since 2021, Victoria’s Secret, through the Global Fund for Women’s Cancers, in collaboration with Pelotonia and the American Association for Cancer Research, has been highlighting female scientists who are at the forefront of research into women’s cancers. The VS Fund invests in the next generation of women scientists who are committed to improving outcomes for women’s cancers.

Roberson leads research aimed at improving cancer outcomes for Black women, focusing specifically on genetic testing, where there has been so much innovation, particularly in the past 10 years.

“Now more and more women are eligible to become genetically tested to help guide their treatment decisions, whether they should be treated with a double mastectomy or receive chemotherapy, and these genetic tests also have implications for women’s families,” says Roberson.

Read the full profile and watch the video feature on Roberson’s work.

Paerl co-edits new book on Climate Change and Estuaries

Dr. Hans Paerl

Dr. Hans Paerl

Congratulations to Hans Paerl, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of marine sciences and environmental sciences and engineering, who is co-editor of a new book titled Climate Change and Estuaries.

Climate change is having an increasing impact on coastal, estuarine and marine environments worldwide. This book provides state-of-the-art coverage of climate change effects on estuarine ecosystems from local, regional and global perspectives. With editors among the most noted international scholars in coastal ecology and estuarine science and contributors who are world-class in their fields, the chapters in this volume consist of comprehensive studies in coastal, estuarine and marine sciences, climate change, and coastal management and provide an extensive international collection of data in tabular, illustrated, and narrative formats useful for coastal scientists, planners and managers.

Learn more.

Matthew Nielsen

Dr. Matthew Nielsen

Matt Nielsen, MD, MS, professor and chair of the Department of Urology, director of quality for UNC Faculty Physicians, and adjunct associate professor of epidemiology and health policy and management at the Gillings School, has been appointed to the National Quality Forum (NQF) Diagnostic Excellence Committee, under the NQF Advancing Measurement of Diagnostic Excellence for Better Healthcare Initiative.

In its report Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, the National Academy of Medicine states, “Improving the diagnostic process is not only possible, it also represents a moral, professional and public health imperative.” While much of the early attention and work in this field focused on avoiding diagnostic errors and their resulting harms, stakeholders, including the NQF, have advocated for a new emphasis and framing around the concept of diagnostic excellence. The NQF defines diagnostic excellence as “an optimal process to attain an accurate and precise explanation about a patient’s condition that would be timely, cost-effective, convenient, and understandable to the patient.”

Learn more.

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