Supporting practical problem solvers

At the Gillings School of Global Public Health, we aim to achieve significant public health impact from the Well to the World™. Below, we discuss our current strategic themes, broad areas of focus that encompass much of the research and practice at the Gillings School and interwoven into much of our teaching. Across all themes are two foundations: a focus on eliminating health inequities and a commitment to improving health locally and globally.

Deliver Proven Solutions Faster

Far too often in public health, there is a gap between knowing and doing – i.e., between the time discoveries that would benefit people’s health are made and when they are put into practice. At the Gillings School, we are impatient for change that improves public health. That’s why more than 100 people across the School conduct research on implementation. It is also why Gillings researchers have developed innovative methods to improve and evaluate interventions. Timely adoption of proven solutions for the world’s great public health threats can save lives. Getting these solutions to people faster and more efficiently saves even more lives.

Dr. Will Vizuete prepares to take air samples in Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Chitsan Wang.
Dr. Will Vizuete prepares to take air samples in Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Chitsan Wang.

Promote Healthy People, Healthy Planet and Improve Care for All

The health of people, animals and the environment are interconnected. We work to improve access to healthy foods, clean water and sanitation while simultaneously working both to halt the spread of infectious diseases and increase the adoption of preventive treatments and behaviors. We discover and disseminate healthy behaviors, develop more effective treatments and improve survivorship for infectious diseases as well as non-communicable diseases. We aim to create a culture of health in North Carolina, the United States and around the world that will encourage people to stay healthy throughout their lifetimes. Our work moves from laboratories to communities, cities and countries on a scale that can change health around the world.

Cambodians examine a ceramic water filter designed by Dr. Mark Sobsey. Photo by Joe Brown.
A Cambodian man purchases a ceramic water filter, designed and tested by Dr. Mark Sobsey and others, for household use. Photo by Joe Brown.

Harness Big Data for Health, Well Being and the Environment

As a result of the Information Age, scientists have more data than ever to help uncover the causes and consequences of disease. Using medical, environmental, financial, geographic, socioeconomic and social media data, Gillings researchers pioneer innovative methodologies for data linkage, mining, visualization and analytics to gain a deeper understanding of the patterns, trends and outcomes of disease. For population health management and precision health initiatives alike, we help transform data into useable information at the time of health intervention so that people can benefit more quickly.

Dr. Michael Kosorok (foreground) discusses precision medicine strategies with Dr. George Retsch-Bogart, a pediatric pulmonologist at the UNC School of Medicine. Precision medicine is one application of data science and machine learning methods that are the focus of the new Public Health Data Science concentration.
Dr. Michael Kosorok (foreground) discusses precision medicine strategies with Dr. George Retsch-Bogart.