May 5, 2016


Read more at sph.unc.edu/news.
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Key to Departments

BIOS          Biostatistics
EPI             Epidemiology
ESE            Environmental Sciences and Engineering
HB              Health Behavior
HPM          Health Policy and Management
MCH          Maternal and Child Health
NUTR         Nutrition
PHLP         Public Health Leadership Program

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Selected Publications

Student-led publications are marked with **.
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Human Biology

Dr. Allison Aiello

Dr. Allison Aiello

Dr. Lydia Feinstein

Dr. Lydia Feinstein

In a study published in the May 2016 issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology, Allison Aiello, PhD, EPI professor, and Lydia Feinstein, PhD, postdoctoral research associate in EPI, reported that people affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also may experience an unnatural decline, or “aging,” of their immune systems.

 

 

anderson_john

Dr. John Anderson

John Anderson, PhD, adjunct professor of NUTR, co-authored two articles related to older adults’ calcium intake. One, published Nov. 19, 2015, in Nutrients, found that high intake of dietary phosphorus, relative to calcium, may have adverse health effects including arterial calcification and bone loss. A second, published in the Jan./Feb. 2016 issue of Nutrition Today, suggests adults may not need more than 700-800 mg. of calcium daily and that the nutrient is best delivered through calcium- rich foods, not supplements. The Institute of Medicine’s recommendation for women 51 and older is for 1,200 mg. daily.
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mHealth and Other Tracking

Dr. Antonia Bennett

Dr. Antonia Bennett

Dr. Bryce Reeve

Dr. Bryce Reeve

Dr. Ethan Basch

Dr. Ethan Basch

Antonia Bennett, PhD, research assistant professor, Bryce Reeve, PhD, professor, and Ethan Basch, MD, professor, all in HPM, showed that activity trackers (e.g., Fitbits) may be a valuable tool for assessing patient symptoms in clinical research. Their findings were published Nov. 17, 2015, in Quality of Life Research.

 

Dr. Kelly Evenson

Dr. Kelly Evenson

Kelly Evenson, PhD, research professor of EPI and RTI University Scholar, reviewed activity trackers to determine which metrics were best measured by the devices. Researchers found the devices best at counting steps and less accurate in measuring energy expenditure and sleep. Evenson’s study was published Dec. 18, 2015, in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
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Policy

Jeanne Luh

Dr. Jeanne Luh

Ryan Cronk

Ryan Cronk

Jamie Bartram, PhD, Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor Environmental Sciences and Engineering

Dr. Jamie Bartram

Jeanne Luh, PhD, program coordinator, Ryan Cronk, ESE doctoral student, and Jamie Bartram, PhD, Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor and director, all of The Water Institute at UNC, proposed a new way to track country- level performance on health, human rights and international development goals. Their findings were published Jan. 26, 2016, in PLOS ONE.

 

Dr. Barry Popkin

Dr. Barry Popkin

Dr. Shu Wen Ng

Dr. Shu Wen Ng

Barry Popkin, PhD, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of NUTR, Shu Wen Ng, PhD, NUTR associate professor, and colleagues co-authored a study showing that a soda tax implemented in Mexico reduced soda consumption by an average 6 percent in 2014. Published Dec. 14, 2015, in PLOS ONE, the research was funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. In a ‘personal view’ paper published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology in February 2016, Popkin highlighted the global increase in sugar- sweetened beverages, which are associated with major health risks, and described a reduction in consumption in countries that tax the drinks (e.g., Mexico, Finland, Hungary and France).

 

Andrew Brian Seidenberg

Andrew Seidenberg

Elizabeth Orlan

Elizabeth Orlan

Dr. Kurt Ribisl

Dr. Kurt Ribisl

**Andrew Brian Seidenberg, MPH, HB doctoral student, conducts research on tobacco control policy and skin cancer prevention. An article co- authored with HB doctoral student Elizabeth Orlan and HB professor Kurt Ribisl, PhD, and published Feb. 5 in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, proposes a regulatory framework to address the major public health challenges raised by e-cigarettes. In an article published Feb. 18 in Translational Behavioral Medicine, Seidenberg and colleagues found that Twitter data provided insight into tanning bed injuries, e.g., eyelid burns, which are not reported through traditional surveillance.

 

Dr. Sally Stearns

Dr. Clark Stearns

A study by Sally Clark Stearns, PhD, professor of HPM, reported that earlier use of hospice services can lower costs and improve care of Medicare patients. Findings were published Dec. 11, 2015, in The Journals of Gerontology.

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Cancer

Dr. Jennifer Smith

Dr. Smith

Jennifer S. Smith, PhD, associate professor of EPI, and colleagues determined that urine testing to detect high-risk human papillomavirus, which causes most cervical cancers, is a simple, effective, noninvasive screening method for those cancers. Her study was published Nov. 5, 2015, in Journal of Clinical Virology.
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Selected Grants

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr. Sian Curtis

Dr. Sian Curtis

Dr. Ilene Speizer

Dr. Ilene Speizer

Sian Curtis, PhD, research associate professor, and Ilene Speizer, PhD, research professor, both in MCH, received a three-year, $4.5 million Gates Foundation grant to evaluate family planning services in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. UNC’s Carolina Population Center will administer the grant.

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Dr. Claudia Fernandez

Dr. Claudia Fernandez

Dr. Giselle Corbie-Smith

Dr. Giselle Corbie-Smith

RWJF selected UNC to serve as the National Program Leadership Center for establishing a New Clinical Scholars program. Initiated with a $750,000 planning grant, the program, led by Claudia Fernandez, DrPH, clinical assistant professor of MCH, and Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of social Selected Grants medicine in the School of Medicine, is part of a $400 million, decade- long plan by RWJF to train leaders to build a “Culture of Health” in the U.S.
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National Institutes of Health

Dr. Penny Gordon-Larsen

Dr. Gordon-Larsen

Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, NUTR professor, was awarded $2.5 million from NIH to examine whether gut microbiota and plasma metabolites differ depending upon precisely when individuals in China transitioned from traditional to Western diets.

 

 

 

Dr. Stephen Hursting

Dr. Hursting

Stephen Hursting, PhD, NUTR professor, received a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Outstanding Investigator Award. The grant provides more than $5 million over seven years to further Hursting’s research on links between obesity and cancer.
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Dr. Elizabeth Mayer-Davis

Dr. Mayer-Davis

Dr. Christina Shay

Dr. Shay

Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor and chair of NUTR, and Christina Shay, PhD, NUTR assistant professor, received NIH funding for a collaborative two-year grant to examine the incidence and prevalence of diabetes in youth and young adults in India and the U.S. The project is an example of the intersection of global and local health.

 

 

Dr. Jennifer Smith

Dr. Smith

Dr. Melissa Troester

Dr. Melissa Troester

Dr. Laura Linnan

Dr. Laura Linnan

Jennifer Smith, PhD, research associate professor (EPI), Melissa A. Troester, PhD, associate professor (EPI), and Laura Linnan, ScD, professor (HB), are among N.C. researchers awarded NCI funding to eliminate cancer disparities for African-Americans in the state. The award supports a 14-year partnership between N.C. Central University and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 

Dr. Stephanie Wheeler

Dr. Wheeler

Dr. Ethan Basch

Dr. Ethan Basch

Two three-year funding awards from NCI, totaling about $725,000, will address disparities in cancer incidence and mortality in three Southern states. Stephanie Wheeler, PhD, assistant professor of HPM, serves as site director for a project with Medical University of South Carolina, working with Ethan Basch, MD, professor of HPM, and others to build cancer disparities-focused training programs in N.C., S.C. and Tennessee.

 

 

Dr. Edwin Fisher

Dr. Edwin Fisher

Dr. Geni Eng

Dr. Eugenia Eng

Dr. Anissa Vines

Dr. Anissa Vines

Edwin Fisher, PhD, professor of HB, working with Eugenia Eng PhD, HB professor, and Anissa Vines, PhD, research assistant professor of EPI, will use the second grant to emphasize peer support and lay health adviser approaches to cancer prevention and care enhancement in underserved communities.
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Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Mark Sobsey

Dr. Mark Sobsey

Katy Brown

Katy Brown

Megan Lott

Megan Lott

A team of students working with Mark Sobsey, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of ESE, including ESE master’s student Katy Brown and undergraduate Megan Lott, received a $14,569 EPA grant to develop and evaluate a new test to detect cholera bacteria in drinking water in low-resource and disaster settings.

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Other News

Anna Dardick

Anna Dardick

Giuliana Morales

Giuliana Morales

The 37th annual UNC Minority Health Conference, “In Solidarity: The Role of Public Health in Social Justice,” drew more than 800 participants in Chapel Hill on Feb. 26, 2016. Crystallee Crain, PhD, educator and activist, and Miriam Zoila Perez, who writes about issues of health, race and gender, presented the keynote addresses. HB master’s students Anna Dardick and Giuliana Morales led planning for the conference.

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Jessica Southwell

Jessica Southwell

Naya Villarreal

Naya Villarreal

Jessica Southwell, MPH, research associate at N.C. Institute for Public Health, and Naya Villarreal, MPH, program coordinator for the Gillings Global Gateway collaborated to launch a podcast called “Public Health Behind the Scenes.” Hear the episodes at publichealthpodcast.com.

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In Memoriam

Dr. Ward Cates

Dr. Ward Cates

Willard (Ward) Cates Jr., MD, MPH, 73, distinguished scientist, president emeritus of FHI 360 and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School, died March 17, 2016. Cates had a long and storied public health career, championing the causes of HIV/AIDS research and women’s reproductive health and inspiring two generations of leading scientists, public health officials and clinical practitioners.

A valued member of the Gillings School’s advisory council and a beloved colleague, friend and mentor to many in the School and around the world, Cates collaborated with the School’s Office of Global Health in 2005 to establish the FHI 360 – UNC Fellowship Program. Now in its 11th year, the program has provided 27 Gillings School graduate students the opportunity to work directly with experienced scientists on real-world global health projects in Africa and Asia.
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Dr. Robert Hamer

Dr. Robert Hamer

Robert M. Hamer, PhD, 65, research professor of BIOS at the Gillings School and professor of psychiatry in UNC’s School of Medicine, died in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Dec. 28, 2015. A 1979 alumnus of UNC, he joined the faculty in 2001.


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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 sph.unc.edu/cph.