Dr. Rebecca Fry

I am honored to serve as the Interim Chair in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Gillings School of Global Public Health – the #1 public school of public health in the nation. We are building on our long and strong history within Gillings, with more than 100 years of innovation and impact protecting the environment and supporting healthy communities.

Our mission is to “Harness environmental solutions to enhance health, well-being, and foster resilience in the face of climate and environmental change” Our faculty work to accomplish this mission through their diverse expertise which includes biology, chemistry, community engagement, data science, engineering, economics, modeling, policy, and toxicology.

Our department is important for several reasons:

  • First, we promote public health protection. Climate and environmental change are associated with major adverse effects on public health. Rising temperatures, extreme weather events, air pollution, and changes in infectious disease patterns are direct consequences. Health effects are broad and impact many health endpoints, including cancer. Our faculty address these issues through solution-oriented and mechanistic work, which reduces these health risks and protects vulnerable populations.
  • Second, we create innovative tools and methods that enable resilience to climate change.  Climate and environmental change affect communities worldwide, and their impacts are projected to intensify. Through innovative environmental solutions, our faculty are building resilience and adaptive capacity to deal with environmental changes. Our solutions minimize the damage caused by extreme events like hurricanes, droughts, and floods.
  • Third, we promote environmental solutions of economic benefit. Environmental solutions promote economic benefits by fostering sustainable industries and promoting green technologies. Investments in renewable energy, clean transportation, and eco-friendly practices can create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
  • Fourth, we support environmental equity. Environmental challenges often disproportionately affect vulnerable and marginalized communities. Harnessing environmental solutions with a focus on health equity can help address environmental justice issues and ensure that all populations have equal access to clean resources and a healthy environment.
  • Fifth, we address issues that have both local and global impact. Environmental challenges, such as climate change, know no boundaries. North Carolina citizens as well as global communities are at risk from environmental hazards. To address this problem, we develop environmental solutions that maximize local and global partnerships.

In summary, our department is creating environmental solutions that are critical to safeguarding public health, promoting well-being, building resilience, and ensuring a sustainable future in the face of climate and environmental change.

Thank you for your interest in our department!

Contact your Academic Coordinator.
Assistant to Chair: Rhoda Cerny
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135 Dauer Drive
166 Rosenau Hall, CB #7431
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7431
(919) 966-1171