Letter from the Chair, June 2017

Dear students, staff and faculty,

Dr. Lytle

It has been a month since graduation. The hallways in Rosenau Hall are quieter, and the pace has slowed down just a bit. A Carolina summer is in full bloom.

The end of the semester occurred with its usual flurry. This year we paired the annual awards ceremony with the Capstone celebration. It was a great event and a wonderful way to bring our students, community partners, alumni and faculty together.

Graduation was great fun! It was nice to see so many families and friends joining in the celebration here at the Gillings School. The health behavior faculty and I wish our new graduates the very best and hope they will always feel a warm connection to the Department of Health Behavior.

Leslie Lytle, professor and chair (center) poses with students from left: Alex Dest, Varsha Subramanyam, Cherese Beatty, Leah Taraskiewicz and Margot Schein. Click to see all the awards.

This will be my last letter to you as chair. As many of you know, I have opted not to continue for a second five-year term as chair so that I can resume my work in research and public health practice. I have enjoyed being your chair, and I have grown a great deal as a person and a professional through the experience.

It has been an honor to serve during this important phase of the department’s great history. During my time as chair, the department hired eleven faculty members and promoted six. We also launched a diversity and inclusion initiative.

The teaching program is outstanding, and the department attracts incredible students who are becoming the next generation of public health leaders and researchers. We completed the program review of our doctoral and master’s programs with flying colors. The external reviewers commented that we are the leading health behavior department in the country!

Dr. Ribisl

The department will be in good hands under the leadership of Professor Kurt Ribisl. Kurt has been on the faculty since 1999. He is well known and appreciated for his excellent teaching in the theory course of the master’s program. Kurt is dedicated to the department, the Gillings School and the university. He is an exceptional researcher and public health leader. I am sure he will be an excellent chair.

We look forward to meeting new students in August and once again to having the halls of Rosenau buzzing with excitement as a new academic year begins. We hope to see more of our alumni and community partners in the coming year and to learn about the amazing accomplishments of our health behavior family.

Best wishes for a safe and happy summer,


Leslie Lytle, professor and chair of the Department of Health Behavior

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