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 – Implementation Science

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. 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.

Healthy People, Healthy Planet

The health of people, animals and the environment is interconnected. This belief in the “one health” concept is behind much of what we do at the Gillings School. We work to improve access to healthy foods, clean water and sanitation. We increase awareness and knowledge regarding zoonotic, vector-borne and food-borne diseases. We prepare to counteract health impacts from natural and human-caused disasters. We protect air and water resources. Through our joint Master of Public Health degree program with North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, we train veterinarians to employ advanced epidemiologic skills for service-oriented careers with public health, animal health and environmental health agencies. Our work moves from laboratories to communities, cities and countries on a scale that can change health around the world.

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

Promote Health, Prevent Disease and Improve Care for All

As leaders in population health, we’re working both to halt the spread of, and increase adoption of, vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases including: HIV, HPV, malaria, Zika virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and other potential pandemics. We discover and disseminate healthy behaviors, develop more effective treatments and improve survivorship for non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. 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 efforts also reduce maternal and infant deaths, promote healthy aging, prevent intimate-partner and gender-based violence, lessen health inequities in underserved or marginalized populations, prevent injuries, improve access to quality health care and engage patients in obtaining the best care for themselves.

A physician checks a child's heartbeat in Senegal. Photo courtesy of Vermont National Guard.

Harness Big Data for Health and Well-Being

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 medicine 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.

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