April 28, 2008

Jonathan B. Oberlander

Numerous distinguished individuals have made notable presentations at the UNC School of Public Health over the past several months. Below are highlights of a few who have shared their experiences and expertise in special lectures at our School. To hear these lectures online, visit www.sph.unc.edu/media/webcasts.html.

Dr. Jonathan B. Oberlander , associate professor of health policy and administration at the UNC School of Public Health, presented the 2008 Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial Lecture on April 14, 2008, at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill. Oberlander is associate professor of social medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, adjunct political science associate professor at UNC and research fellow at the UNC Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research.

He is a nationally-recognized expert on health care reform — a major issue in the 2008 presidential race when candidates are being called upon to articulate plans for expanding coverage while controlling costs. To shed light on this issue, Oberlander authored the lead perspectives in the Oct. 25 and Nov. 22 issues of the New England Journal of Medicine. The first article explored why past health reform efforts have failed; the second analyzed the health reform plans of current leading presidential candidates (see www.nejm.org).

Michael Neidorff, chairman and chief executive officer of the Centene Corp., a multi-line managed-care company based in St. Louis, lectured at the School on March 17, 2008. The presentation was the inaugural lecture of the School’s Distinguished Visitors Program and was titled “Academic Research to Practical Policy: Quality, Cost and Ethical Issues.” Centene provides Medicaid services and other specialty programs to health care organizations in seven states in the northeastern and southern United States. Neidorff has guided Centene to a leadership role in its field through marrying progressive business and quality improvement practices with cutting-edge health promotion and disease management programs to serve its clients.

Dr. Robert Temple, director of the Office of Medical Policy in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, spoke at the School on March 6, 2008. His office is responsible for regulating the promotion of drugs and assessing quality of clinical trials. Temple, a medical doctor, also is acting director of the Office of Drug Evaluation, which regulates cardio-renal, neuropharmacologic and psychopharmacologic drugs.

Temple has written extensively on the design and conduct of clinical trials. His lecture, titled “FDA Drug Approval Process, Potential Efficiencies and Active Control Trials,” was sponsored by the UNC Center for Innovative Clinical Trials and the School of Public Health.

Stephanie Nolen, Africa correspondent for the Globe and Mail, the national newspaper of Canada, spoke movingly about Africa’s AIDS Pandemic at a lecture at the School on Nov. 1, 2007. The presentation, titled “28: Telling the Human Stories Behind Africa’s AIDS Pandemic,” was part of the Dean’s Lecture Series.

Nolen is the author of three books — 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa, Promised the Moon: the Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race and Shakespeare’s Face. At 35, she is a six-time nominee for Canada’s top reporting prize, the National Newspaper Award, and a back-to-back winner of the International Reporting Award. She was the recipient of the 2003, 2004 and 2006 Amnesty International Award for Human Rights Reporting, for reports from war zones in Uganda and Sudan. She has reported from more than 40 countries around the world.

Dr. Sheila Leatherman, research professor of health policy and administration at the UNC School of Public Health, spoke on “Microcredit and Global Health” at a Dean’s Lecture Series presentation on Sept. 24, 2007, at the School. Microcredit is a financial innovation that seeks to address the issue of global poverty. Small loans are extended to the impoverished or unemployed so they can build independent businesses. Leatherman is researching the impact of microcredit on global health.

Leatherman is distinguished associate of Darwin College at the University of Cambridge in England and is the first Gillings Visiting Professor at the UNC School of Public Health. The professorship was established last year with funding from Dennis Gillings, CBE (Commander of the British Empire), and his wife, Joan. Gillings, a former UNC biostatistics professor, is chairman and chief executive officer of Quintiles Transnational Corp.

Suggest a speaker you would like us to bring to the UNC School of Public Health. Submit your nomination to the School’s Speaker Selection Committee by contacting Jerry Salak at jerry_salak@unc.edu or 919-843-0661. The committee selects speakers for the Dean’s Lecture Series, Commencement, Foard Lecture and other special events.


Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health. To subscribe to Carolina Public Health or to view the entire Spring 2008 issue in PDF, visit www.sph.unc.edu/cph.