April 25, 2008
Dr. David Leith has been selected as the 2008 recipient of the Greenberg Alumni Endowment Award for excellence in teaching, research and service, and Charles W. McGrew received this year’s Barr Distinguished Alumni Award for achievements and contributions to the field of public health.

The awardees were honored at the School of Public Health’s Foard Lecture, held April 14 at The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.

The Greenberg Award


Photograph, Dr. David Leith

Photograph, Dr. David Leith

David Leith, professor of environmental sciences and engineering, received a Doctor of Science degree from Harvard University in 1975 and taught there for nine years before joining the UNC faculty in 1984. His research and teaching at UNC have focused on the measurement and control of contaminants in indoor and outdoor air.

Since 1981, he has advised 17 doctoral students, 10 of whom have advanced to faculty positions in public health. His students have won six national awards for “best paper of the year,” given for excellence in research.

At Carolina, he has won four other awards for teaching and mentorship, including the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-baccalaureate Instruction, presented by Chancellor Moeser in 2005.

Leith was nominated for the award by more than 20 former students and professional colleagues at UNC and throughout the country. One supporter observed, “Dave sees every situation as a learning opportunity and a chance for him to make a difference in someone’s life — whether it’s a student, a worker, or the greater community as a whole.” The seamless integration of research, public service and teaching, which the Greenberg Award was designed to honor, appears to be a hallmark of Leith’s career.

The Greenberg Award was established by the School of Public Health Alumni Association to honor Dr. Bernard G. Greenberg, founder and chair of the Department of Biostatistics from 1949 to 1972 and dean of the School from 1972 to1982. The award is given annually to an outstanding full-time faculty member for excellence in the areas of teaching, research and service. Special consideration is given to candidates who have seamlessly integrated these areas of focus. A major criterion is continuous demonstrated excellence over a number of years in service to the broader public health community.

The Barr Award


Photograph, Charles McGrew

Photograph, Charles McGrew

Charles McGrew, deputy director and chief operating officer of the Arkansas Department of Health, has held a number of leadership positions in the Department of Health.

Arkansas’ public health system has 93 local health units in 75 counties. Under McGrew’s direction, health services in the state were organized into a unified agency, resulting in improved access to care.

As the Department of Health’s liaison to the Governor’s Office, McGrew created In-Home Services, a $65 million Medicare-certified agency that delivers private duty nursing, personal care, high-risk maternity care and hospice services statewide to more than 26,000 Arkansans.

Thanks to McGrew’s efforts, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement was established. The Center’s efforts allowed Arkansas to become the only state to devote funds from the nationwide tobacco settlement entirely to health care, resulting in the founding of the College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

McGrew also is responsible for creating legislation and funding for the building of a new state-of-the-art facility for the state’s Public Health Laboratory.

In 2006, he helped convince the Arkansas legislature to pass the Clean Air Act, known to be the single most effective way to reduce smoking rates and protect nonsmokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

McGrew received a Master of Public Health degree in health policy and administration from the UNC School of Public Health in 1973.

Established in 1975, the Barr Award recognizes the achievements of alumni and their contributions to public health. For many years, the alumni award has carried the name of its 1980 recipient — Harriet Hylton Barr — to honor her contributions to the field, which continue to this day. The Barr Award recognizes leadership, experimentation, collaboration and innovation within the profession; impact within the practice arena; and outstanding service beyond the requirements of the recipient’s employment.

The Barr and Greenberg awards were announced just prior to the School of Public Health’s 40th annual Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial Lecture. Dr. Jonathan Oberlander, associate professor of health policy and administration at the School, gave the keynote address on “Health Care Reform and the 2008 Presidential Election.”


School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or ramona_dubose@unc.edu



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