May 5, 2014

Shaping policy through research and evidence

In any given academic year, our faculty members provide thousands of hours of service to North Carolinians.They collaborate in laboratories and lead groundbreaking research on MERS and other emerging infections.They’re helping rural hospitals survive. They develop and test new statistical methods that change the way clinical trials are conducted – increasing the likelihood that proven medications will get to patients sooner. They’re reducing stroke deaths in North Carolina and maternal and infant deaths in Africa. They convene people from around the world to solve challenges associated with water and sanitation. They have organized an all-out attack on cancer in North Carolina, preventing diabetes in American Indian populations, partnering with colleagues from Cambridge to Malawi. They are on prestigious committees of the NIH, Institute of Medicine, NGOs, WHO and many other organizations. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

—Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH

Dr. Lorraine Alexander (left) and Dr. Karin Yeatts taught an epidemiology MOOC -- one of UNC's first. MOOC-epidemiology 050714-yeatts-alexander-designed by andy brawn

Drs. Lorraine Alexander (left) and Karin Yeatts led one of UNC’s first five Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) this spring. About 27,632 students enrolled, and more than 3,050 students from N.C., 17 other states and 45 countries completed course requirements.



  • Carolyn Halpern, PhD – Interim chair, maternal and child health
  • Julie MacMillan, MPH – Interim executive director of the Gillings Global Gateway (formerly Office of Global Health)
  • Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD – Chair, nutrition
  • Sandy Moulton, JD, MPH – Interim associate dean for SPH Advancement (formerly External Affairs)
  • Andrew Olshan, PhD – Barbara Sorenson Hulka Distinguished Professor of Cancer Epidemiology
gammon_marilie_doctoral mentoring award


Dr. Marilie Gammon, epidemiology professor, received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring at UNC’s 2014 doctoral hooding ceremony.


celebrate teaching winners



The 2014 Teaching Innovation Award winners were (l-r) Dr. Karl Umble, Lori Evarts, Amanda Holliday, Dr. Lew Margolis, Dr. Beth Moracco, Dr. Rebecca Fry and Kathy Roggenkamp. Not pictured: Dr. Steve Cole.



  • Dr. Jeannette Bensen (research associate professor, EPID)
  • Dr. William Carpenter (associate professor, HPM)
  • Dr. Stephanie Engel (associate professor, EPID)
  • Dr. Rebecca Fry (associate professor, ESE)
  • Dr. Jacqueline Gibson (associate professor, ESE)
  • Dr. Mark Holmes (associate professor, HPM)
  • Dr. Michael Hudgens (associate professor, BIOS)
  • Dr. Yufeng Liu (professor, BIOS)
  • Dr. Jane Monaco (clinical associate professor, BIOS)
  • Dr. John Paul (clinical professor, HPM)
  • Dr. Bryce Reeve (research professor, HPM)
  • Dr. Todd Schwartz (research associate professor, BIOS)
  • Dr. Jennifer Smith (associate professor, EPID)
  • Ms. Melanie Studer (clinical assistant professor, HPM)
  • Dr. Miroslav Styblo (professor, NUTR)
  • Dr. Wei Sun (associate professor, BIOS/GEN)
  • Dr. Karl Umble (clinical assistant professor, HPM)
  • Dr. Jason West (associate professor, ESE)
vaughn_meagan_dan sears


In partnership with Insect Shield, a North Carolina company, epidemiology professor Dr. Steven Meshnick and recent alumna Dr. Meagan Vaughn (pictured) studied repellent-treated clothing and found it reduced by 80 percent the number of tick bites endured by outdoor workers in N.C.




Dr. Beth Mayer-Davis, nutrition chair (in red), co-chairs the national SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study. Her diabetes research produced two recent studies. One, in Pediatrics, found unacceptably high levels of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in youth with diabetes. Another, in JAMA, found that Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes increased significantly between 2001 and 2009.


New faculty

  • Dr. Robert Agans (clinical associate professor, BIOS)
  • Dr. Allison Aiello (professor, EPID)
  • Dr. Brian Bennett (assistant professor, NUTR)
  • Dr. Kyle Burger (assistant professor, NUTR)
  • Dr. Folami Ideraabdullah (assistant professor, NUTR)
  • Dr. Lucia Leone (research assistant professor, NUTR)
  • Dr. Jennifer Lund (assistant professor, EPID)
  • Dr. Hazel Nichols (assistant professor, EPID)
  • Dr. Vivian Go (associate professor, HB)
  • Dr. Steve Hursting (professor, NUTR)
  • Dr. Anne Marie Meyer (research assistant professor, EPID)
  • Dr. Kate Muessig (assistant professor, HB)
  • Dr. Michael Piehler (associate professor, ESE)
  • Dr. Brian Pence (assistant professor, EPID)
  • Dr. Kimberly Powers (assistant professor, EPID)
  • Dr. Paula Song (associate professor, HPM)
  • Ms. Catherine Sullivan (clinical instructor, MCH)
  • Dr. Justin Trogdon (assistant professor, HPM)
  • Dr. V. Sarajo Voruganti (assistant professor, NUTR)
  • Dr. Daniel Westreich (assistant professor, EPID)
  • Dr. Zhenfa Zhang (research assistant professor, ESE)


Dr. Ralph Baric

Dr. Ralph Baric


Epidemiologist Dr. Ralph Baric’s study of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV, published April 28 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was timely. The first suspected case of the virus in the U.S. appeared days later.



Recognitions and awards

Dr. Linda Adair: American Society of Nutrition's Kellogg Prize

Dr. Linda Adair – American Society of Nutrition’s Kellogg Prize

Dr. Vic Schoenbach, today.

Dr. Vic Schoenbach – MLK Unsung Hero Award for championing diversity

Dr. Peggy Bentley

Dr. Peggy Bentley – elected to the board of directors of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health

Dr. David Weber

Dr. David Weber – Bernard G. Greenberg Alumni Endowment Award for Excellence









Bill Gentry – Ned Brooks Award for Public Service

Dr. Daniel Westreich – Society of Epidemiologic Research's Early Career Award

Dr. Daniel Westreich – Society of Epidemiologic Research’s Early Career Award

Dr. Lew Margolis

Dr. Lew Margolis – The McGavran Award for Excellence in Teaching

Photo by Donn Young

Dr. Steve Wing – John E. Larsh Award for Mentorship








Dr. Kurt Ribisl

Dr. Kurt Ribisl

In fall 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health awarded Dr. Kurt Ribisl  (professor, health behavior) a five-year, $20 million grant to study issues related to tobacco prevention communication and regulation of e-cigarettes.

“The goal is to inform and shape how the FDA regulates tobacco products by doing high-impact research that ultimately will help reduce tobacco use,” Ribisl says. “Despite decades of work to reduce tobacco use in the U.S., it continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease.”


Ribisl also is co-founder, with student Allison Myers, of


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