Travis Johnson is the Faculty Spotlight for the Fall 2018 Newsletter!

Travis Johnson, MD, MPH is an assistant professor for the PHLP and the Interim Director for the UNC Gillings Masters in Public Health program in Asheville. He has 15 years of experience as a family physician, specializing in maternal- child health in rural settings. Currently, Travis is co-teaching the Leadership Workshop (PUBH 791).

Travis Johnson Headshot

Travis Johnson, MD, MPH

What you do at UNC Gillings (and why you love it)? I am the Interm director for the Leadership in Practice concentration on the UNC-Asheville campus. I also co-teach the leadership workshop course (PUBH 791) with Vaughn Upshaw. So far, I have really enjoyed the camaraderie between us as well as learning from Vaughn who has taught the course before.  I love what I do because I enjoy thinking of creative ways to combine core leadership concepts with public health to brainstorm solutions on how to break down barriers in our communities.

What is your favorite thing to eat? Good question! I love strawberry rhubarb pie. It has a sweet tart flavor. My grandmother would make that for me. It brings back great memories.

What’s something that you enjoy most about the Asheville campus? I appreciate Asheville for its smallness especially with our cohort. I am able to get to know students better, which allow me to really help them develop and work through their professional goals. The close-knit nature is also a great teaching tool as well. I also enjoy the campus’ strong drive to involve different stakeholders in the area to practice public health in Western North Carolina. It really is a community effort.

If I had one superpower: I would probably freeze time in place. I think the ability to stop time would help me revel in the moment and get a better sense of what’s happening in present time.

A fictional character that you identify with: I really identity with Huckleberry Finn. He is able to think outside of the box. He is also always open to new and exciting adventures and willing to invite any and everyone one along the way. I think that is how I try to approach life.

What is your biggest teaching goal? My dream teaching goal would be to partner with local agencies to give students the opportunity to solve cases based on real life issues in real time. This approach would allow students to further hone their skills through creative and critical thinking while also working on current public health issues in the field. I firmly believe that the best and most innovative teaching takes place outside of the classroom.

Karine Dubé is the Faculty Spotlight for the Spring 2018 Newsletter!

Karine Dubé, DrPH is an assistant professor with PHLP and has worked with the program since February 2017. Her research focuses on integrating biomedicine, social sciences, ethics, community engagement and public health in HIV cure-related research.

Dr. Karine Dubé

Karine Dubé, DrPH

What is your latest research? My latest research has focused on bridging biomedical research, social sciences, ethics, community engagement and public health in HIV cure-related research in the United States. With Project Inform (,  we are about to launch a new survey looking at how people living with HIV perceive HIV cure-related research interventions, and what they would consider to be improvements above standard antiretroviral HIV therapy and acceptable target product profiles for an HIV cure. I am also embedding social sciences as part of actual HIV cure-related studies, including the Last Gift study ( at the University of California San Diego. I also help support a clinical research capacity development effort in Liberia, following the Ebola outbreak.

What do you do at UNC Gillings (and why do you love it)? I help mentor the next generation of global health leaders! I teach three global health courses: PUBH 711 (Critical Issues in Global Health), PUBH 712 (Global Health Ethics) and SPHG 700 (Introduction to Global Health). I will be part of the new global health concentration. I love it because I get to pursue my passion every day! I found a nice balance between teaching and research, and I am very grateful to be working with amazing students and in an academic environment.

What do you do when you’re not at work? I like to travel. My husband and I try to travel somewhere at least once a year. I have really enjoyed visiting different African countries especially Mozambique. I would love to go back there. I also like to read during my spare time. I just really like the smell of old books. I also enjoy photography.

Complete the following sentence: “Innovation in teaching means…” I think it means being responsive to current challenges that we face specifically in public health. I also think of how to tie teaching to advocacy. When I was an undergraduate student at UNC, I was president of  the APPLES Service-Learning program and learned a lot about experiential learning. That really showed me the importance of bringing the real world to the classroom and giving back to our communities. When I conduct research, I try not to do “parachute research” and I like to build capacity. It’s a similar concept when I teach. I strive to create a classroom that emphasizes the exchange of information and resources and meaningful dialogue.

If you could wake up tomorrow having mastered one new ability, what would it be? I want the ability to add more time to my day. Time is my most precious resource. If I could, I would make it so that we have eight-day weeks because seven-day weeks are just not enough!

What is something that you’re looking forward to? Everything! I look forward to continuing my research and teaching my classes. I look forward to further bridging the gaps between biomedicine, social sciences, public health, and the community for HIV cure-related research. I found my home within PHLP and enjoy the interdisciplinary lens of my colleagues and the overall program. I am happy that I am able to align my passions with my career through PHLP.

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