To our new students, staff, and faculty, welcome to Gillings. To those of you returning, welcome back!  

The community spirit that characterizes Carolina, and Gillings in particular, has been on full display these first few weeks of the semester.  We have been inspired by the stories of faculty, staff, and students who stepped up to provide support to all those who needed it during the past few weeks. We plan to build on this momentum throughout the year with a clear focus on our global community of scholars, researchers, and practitioners.   


Global remains one of Dean Messonnier’s top three priorities for the school. With that in mind, we have three global health goals we want to focus on this year. The first is recruiting more international students and providing a supportive environment for them while they are at Gillings. International students are central to our global mission at Gillings. We currently have nearly 250 international students at Gillings, who bring their experiences and perspectives into the classroom, enriching the learning for all. Being an international student has its unique challenges, and we are focused on building strong support for our international community. Our students launched the Gillings International Graduate Student Organization this year, led by international students in several departments. The organization hosted an orientation event specifically for international students, the first of its kind at Gillings, and has planned a number of social events to bring our international student community together throughout the year. Second, we are committed to taking a deep look at our global health training curriculum considering changes that we know are happening in the field of global public health. We are venturing on a curriculum review process, informed by key external partners in the field of global health to help us align our training skills and competencies with those that will be required of global health practitioners in the future. Finally, we want to continue to expand our global health practice-based opportunities for students at Gillings. We want to offer all students, whether you came to Gillings specifically to study global health or just want to explore global health while you are here, the opportunities to put their training to practice through a variety of global practicum opportunities that are based locally and globally.  


We have leveraged several opportunities to bring global partners to Gillings for short and long-term engagements. We currently have our first Fulbright Scholar in Residence, Dr. Lusajo Kajula, who will be based at Gillings for the year, co-teaching courses for BSPH and MPH students, and engaging in a global-local initiative with the Durham County Public Health Department. We are also welcoming back Dr. Dilshad Jaff to Gillings as the co-lead of our Humanitarian Health Initiative, bringing his vast experience working in complex humanitarian crises in conflict zones throughout the world. Several of our core international sites also have doctoral and post-doctoral trainees with us at Gillings. These are examples of global leaders who will have sustained engagement with our faculty, students, and staff, adding depth to the research, teaching, and practice that we do globally at Gillings.  


We are excited for the year ahead and look forward to continuing to build and support our global mission at Gillings!  


Suzanne Maman, Associate Dean for Global Health  

Naya Villarreal, Gillings Global Health Associate Director

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