May 4, 2015
Student-led publications are marked with **.
ESE Environmental Sciences and Engineering
HB Health Behavior
HPM Health Policy and Management
MCH Maternal and Child Health
PHLP Public Health Leadership Program
In an article published Oct. 17, 2014, by Environmental Health Perspectives, Rebecca Fry, PhD, ESE associate professor, and colleagues found that arsenic is associated with impaired fetal growth. In another study, published Oct. 10, in Toxicological Sciences, she and colleagues showed that prenatal exposure to inorganic arsenic may lead to detrimental health effects and gene reprogramming in children.
**HB doctoral candidate Joseph G.L. Lee, MPH, and colleagues found that smoking-cessation interventions developed for LGBT communities were effective but reached only small numbers of LGBT smokers. His systematic literature review was published Nov. 18, 2014 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In a study published March 5 in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Lee and colleagues found a relationship between the concentration of same-sex couples and the density of tobacco retailers in neighborhoods.
EPI faculty members Nora Franceschini, MD, research assistant professor, and Wayne Rosamond, PhD, professor, were among authors of a study finding that African-Americans carrying a genetic sickle-cell trait face up to a two-fold risk increase for chronic kidney disease. Study results were published Nov. 13, 2014, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
**A study led by HB doctoral student Andrew Seidenberg, MPH, proposes to combat the use of indoor tanning by teens, employing strategies successfully used in campaigns to stop teen tobacco use. It is hoped that findings, published Nov. 6, 2014, in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, will help prevent teen skin cancers.
An international collaboration of scientists, including EPI professor Kari North, PhD, conducted the largest-ever genome-wide study on body fat and body mass index (BMI), finding strong genetic links to obesity. The consortium found 89 new genetic locations across the genome that play roles in obesity, including BMI and where fat is stored in the body. The two studies were published Feb. 11 in Nature.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group of prestigious national experts, submitted recommendations to the U.S. government in February for the purpose of informing the 2015 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. NUTR and EPI professor Anna Maria Siega-Riz, PhD, was an invited committee member. Learn more at health.gov/dietaryguidelines.
Dorothy Cilenti, DrPH, clinical assistant professor of MCH, and colleagues led a study to examine the impact of N.C.’s state budget cuts upon maternal health service use and outcomes among Medicaid-enrolled pregnant women in the state. The study was published in the February Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
Local health department staffing and services contribute to a reduction in the infant mortality rate, according to a study led by Anna Schenck, PhD, associate dean for public health practice and director of the School’s PHLP and N.C. Institute for Public Health. The findings were published Feb. 17 in the American Journal of Public Health.
**A study published March 2 in Pediatric Obesity acknowledges progress in efforts to fight childhood obesity but suggests that researchers closely monitor recent dietary trends among preschool children. The study, led by NUTR doctoral candidate Christopher Ford, was co-authored by NUTR faculty members Barry Popkin, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor, and Shu Wen Ng, PhD, research assistant professor.
Jonathan Oberlander, PhD, professor of HPM and of social medicine, authored a “Perspective” commentary, published Dec. 10, 2014, in The New England Journal of Medicine. Oberlander describes the status of the Affordable Care Act and the challenges it will face in the Supreme Court, where the law’s future could be decided.
Angela Thrasher, PhD, HB assistant professor, and colleagues found that experiencing discrimination in the health-care system is distressing for older Americans and can be bad for their health. Her study, published March 13 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that 20 percent of respondents experienced health-care-related discrimination. Almost one-third of those developed new disabilities over the course of the four-year study period.
A World Health Organization/ UNICEF report, released March 17, calls for immediate action to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) in health-care facilities in low- and middle-income countries. Report authors are Jamie Bartram, PhD, director of The Water Institute at UNC and Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor of ESE, and Ryan Cronk, MS, ESE doctoral student. (See tinyurl.com/WHO-WASH-report.)
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases received a $3.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the growing worldwide cancer problem and expand UNC’s efforts in Malawi to study and treat HIV- associated cancers. Andrew Olshan, PhD, Barbara Sorenson Hulka Distinguished Professor in Cancer Epidemiology and EPI chair, is a key researcher on the project.
The National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety awarded more than $1 million to Leena Nylander-French, PhD, CIH, ESE professor of occupational and environmental health, to find biomarkers that might help determine which workers are most susceptible to diseases caused by toxins in automotive spray paints and other surface coatings. Nylander-French also was awarded a $2.5 million National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grant to study the relationship of indoor air pollutants, health and poverty in Rwanda.
John Graham, PhD, senior investigator at the School’s N.C. Institute for Public Health and adjunct assistant professor in the PHLP, was awarded $135,000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Network of Public Health Institutes to identify and assess marketing strategies and behavioral designs in hospitals and full-service grocery stores to improve consumers’ selection of healthy foods and beverages.
Orlando Coronell, PhD, assistant professor, and Rachel Noble, PhD, professor, both in ESE, are part of research teams awarded UNC General Administration grants totaling about $1.68 million. With principal investigator Douglas F. Call, PhD, of N.C. State University, Coronell was awarded $997,996 to study salinity gradient energy as a clean energy source for the state. Nobel was awarded $684,805 to develop rapid molecular diagnostics to find viral and bacterial pathogens in marine water and seafood.
A $10 million grant from Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute will study stroke patients across North Carolina to determine whether longer-term post-stroke care improves daily function. The first statewide study of its kind and scope is co-led by Wayne Rosamond, PhD, EPI professor, and will partner the Gillings School with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and 51 N.C. hospitals.
Alice Ammerman, DrPH, NUTR professor and director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, has leadership roles in two new centers established to help those on federal nutritional assistance services make healthy food choices on limited budgets. Ammerman leads the UNC team for the Duke-UNC U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research, funded by the USDA at $1.9 million for three years. She also directs UNC’s new Regional Center of Excellence in Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention, funded by USDA for $856,250. Matthew Harding, PhD, assistant professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, and Lorelei Jones, MEd, coordinator of the nutrition education program at N.C. State University, are collaborating leaders of the two centers.
Four new projects — two designed to improve chronic disease care, one aimed at increasing access to cervical cancer screening and another to track land-applied biosolids — are the most recent Gillings Innovation Labs. Awardees are Edwin Fisher, PhD, HB professor; Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, NUTR professor; Jennifer Smith, PhD, associate professor of EPI; and Jill Stewart, PhD, associate professor of ESE, with Michael Aitken, PhD, ESE professor and chair. Established in 2007 as part of the $50 million Gillings gift, the laboratories are designed to solve public health problems and accelerate sustainable solutions across N.C. and around the world. Read more at sph.unc.edu/innovationlabs.
Jay Noren, MD, MPH, visiting clinical professor in HPM, began serving as interim senior associate dean at the School on Jan. 15. Noren was founding dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health, president of Wayne State University (Detroit), and most recently, provost of Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates).
William Howard Glaze, PhD
ESE professor and chair emeritus
Dec. 17, 2014
Jules Heisler, PhD, MBA
Former senior associate dean
Jan. 18, 2015
Jaroslav (Jerry) Hulka, MD
MCH professor emeritus
Nov. 24, 2014
Michael Rosenberg, MD, MPH
Adjunct professor of EPI and MCH
Dec. 8, 2014
Robert Verhalen, DrPH
Alumnus, friend and emeritus Public Health Foundation board member
March 26, 2015
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.