Michael and Barbara Arrighi

Michael and Barbara Arrighi

September 14, 2009

Michael Arrighi has been an epidemiologist for nearly 30 years, from Los Angeles to Saudi Arabia to Research Triangle Park, N.C. He’s now living in California, working as senior director of epidemiology for Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and loves the career he’s chosen.

“Michael is passionate about epidemiology,” said Barbara Arrighi, his wife of seven years, “and I know a lot of that comes from UNC.”

Michael Arrighi earned his doctorate in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health in 1992. He had gotten his master’s degree in public health from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1980, then took a job as a research assistant at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. There, he worked with an outstanding alumna of UNC ‘s School of Public Health, Dr. Carol J.R. Hogue.

“Carol was very influential in my decision to come to Chapel Hill for my doctorate,” he said. He also was drawn by the strength of UNC ‘s faculty — people like the late Harry Guess, PhD, who started the School’s pharmacoepidemiology program, and Victor Schoenbach, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and member of UNC ‘s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“It comes down to good people,” Arrighi said. “UNC has had the best — and continues to have them.”

The Arrighis regularly support the Department of Epidemiology with generous gifts, and now have pledged to endow a scholarship for an epidemiology student and have included a bequest to the School in their will.

“Michael and Barbara’s gift is extraordinary in that it addresses the short-term needs of the school for unrestricted support, makes a pledge to create an endowed fund that will mature in the near future and creates a repository for a portion of their estate so that their legacy will endure in perpetuity,” said Andy Olshan, PhD, chair of the Department of Epidemiology.

“A lot of times people think the state supports state schools and they don’t need additional support,” Michael Arrighi said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to give back to the School in the short term and long term. We certainly encourage all graduates to support the department and the School.”

Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. To view previous issues, please visit www.sph.unc.edu/cph.

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