Research Annual Report — Fiscal Year 2012
You will not find ivory tower academics in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. As this edition of Carolina Public Health clearly demonstrates, our faculty members undertake state-of-the-art research to discover solutions to some of the world’s most pressing public health challenges — problems that affect the lives of people in North Carolina, our nation and the world.
However, learning “what works” to solve a public health problem is not enough. This is why many on our faculty engage in implementation science to determine and apply methods aimed at the dissemination of effective public health interventions. The goal is to ensure that the most effective public health approaches are actually put into use to improve people’s lives.
This work takes funding. In fiscal year 2012, our faculty members submitted more grant and contract applications than ever to fund their research, a 20 percent increase in requested funds from the previous fiscal year. Although we are living in an economy in which research resources are limited, our researchers’ hard work has paid off. They received 417 grants and contracts totaling more than $154 million, 80 percent of which was provided by federal sources including the National Institutes of Health.
This edition of Carolina Public Health highlights some examples of these endeavors, and I’ll mention a few others here.
- Drs. Vijaya Hogan and Diane Rowley, in the Department of Maternal and Child Health, were funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to engage in action research with vulnerable African-American women. They will work toward developing community-centric solutions to maternal and child health problems that are often faced by those living in poverty. Strategies identified during this project may be used to modify existing maternal and child health institutional processes to improve effectiveness of health-related services.
- Drs. Annelies Van Rie and Marcel Yotebieng, in the Department of Epidemiology, were funded to conduct research on a new diagnostic test for detecting multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, a significant public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in areas where there is also a high rate of HIV. Van Rie received a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to work in South Africa; Yotebieng’s grant from the World Health Organization (WHO) will fund his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both research projects aim dramatically to reduce the overall prevalence and number of deaths caused by tuberculosis, an airborne infectious disease that is preventable and curable.
- Drs. Jason West and Will Vizuete, in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, were funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to design and evaluate a dynamic management system for the country’s electric power sector, a system aimed at minimizing daily exceedances of ozone air quality standards. If shown to be effective, this approach could be instituted across the country to help improve air quality.
Our School is fortunate to have so many bright, hard-working, productive and dedicated faculty members. They dream of a better world, and they work hard to help make it happen. They are truly driven to accomplish our School’s mission to improve public health, promote individual well-being and eliminate health disparities across North Carolina and around the world.
Sandra L. Martin, PhD
Associate Dean for Research
Gillings School of Global Public Health
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.