HBHE faculty members on the move!

January 25, 2005
HBHE faculty members are on the move! Read below to learn more about faculty leaves and retirements.Faculty Leave:

HBHE professor Carol Runyan (PhD 1983) was awarded an RJ Reynolds Sabbatical leave by the University to focus on research and scholarly writing. Carol will be dividing her time between Chapel Hill, Washington, D.C., and Canada in spring, 2005 as she pursues her research into public health and public policy implications of youth employment. Carol recently finished up two major research projects collecting the first data to examine, from a national perspective, teen employment practices and parental involvement in decision-making. Her second study examines the hazards youth encounter when they work in construction. During her semester leave, Carol aims to finish her analyses of these data sets, gather qualitative data about existing policies and programs associated with protecting employed youth, and prepare an edited volume of new findings and synthesis pieces focused on youth employment.

Faculty Retirement:

HBHEs will no longer be seeing professor James Sorenson walking the halls of Rosenau as often as usual. He retired January 1, 2005, right after his one-semester stint as acting chair. Jim has been a member of the HBHE faculty since 1985. At that time, he left his position as chief of the Social and Behavioral Science Section at the Boston University School of Public Health to tackle the job of department chair at HBHE. Under his leadership, from 1985 until 1996, Jim launched an effort to refocus the department’s educational mission on graduate level training and to enlarge the role of research and the doctoral program. During his time as chair, the undergraduate program was disbanded (1995); in its place, the Department revised and expanded its doctoral program from 1 or 2 students per cohort to 5 or 10. Faculty got more involved with funded research, particularly intervention research informed by behavioral and social science theories, methods and concepts. Also during his tenure as chair, HBHE changed its name from the Department of Health Education to Health Behavior and Health Education to reflect an increasing focus on health behavior research.

In recent years, Jim’s own research has focused on the design and evaluation of health promotion and disease prevention interventions, applied human genetics, and health promotion for maternal and child health. His work also focuses on the relationship between health behavior research and public policy as well as ethical issues in health promotion and disease prevention. Jim has been executive editor of the research journal, Health Education Research: Theory and Practice for the past eight years. Finally, Jim has worked extensively over the past decade with the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH in a variety of consulting capacities and has conducted numerous funded large-scale research projects translating discoveries in genetics and genomics into public health and medical practice and policy.

Ever ready with a wry remark, Jim pondered a moment when asked to share some thoughts about his upcoming retirement. “Into this Universe, and why not knowing,” he declaimed, quoting Edward FitzGerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

Nor whence, like Water, willy-nilly flowing: And out of it, as Wind along the Waste, I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.

“On a less wry note, Jim concluded: “I began my professional journey 35 years ago. It has been a privilege to be a member of this faculty, first as Chair, and more recently as Professor, for nearly 20 of these 35 years.”

For further information please contact Catherine Vorick either by phone at 919-966-3918 or by email at cvorick@email.unc.edu