School celebrates Public Health Thank You Day

November 16, 2012
Research!America and other leading public health organizations have designated Monday, Nov. 19, as Public Health Thank You Day, a day on which to recognize health-related research, education and service.
Dr. Anna Schenck

Dr. Anna Schenck


Anna Schenck, PhD, associate dean for practice at Gillings School of Global Public Health, composed an open letter in honor of the occasion. Schenck also is director of the School’s Public Health Leadership Program and its N.C. Institute for Public Health.

“With Thanksgiving just around the corner,” Schenck said, “it is an appropriate time to recognize those who deserve our thanks but rarely receive it – our North Carolina public health heroes.” She writes:

I am often asked by friends who know where I work, ‘Exactly what is public health?’ It is surprising to me that a profession so vital would have such low visibility. Public health professionals touch each of us every day where we live, work and play. Their actions have been credited with dramatic improvements in life expectancy in the U.S., which has increased by 30 years in the past century. Public health professionals devote their careers to keeping us healthy and safe, through services, public policies and research. Thanks to public health heroes, our air, food and water are safe, and we can prevent many diseases that used to claim the lives of our parents and grandparents.

In North Carolina, we have nearly 12,000 public health professionals, working in our State Division of Public Health and in 85 health departments across the state. The Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill is devoted to public health education, research and community service. Along with Research!America, a non-profit alliance representing 125 million Americans, we will mark Monday, Nov. 19, as Public Health Thank You Day by sending thank-you notes to our state and local public health heroes.

On November 19, as you have a drink of water, go out to eat, send your child off to school, and enjoy not having the flu (because you got your flu shot), I hope you, too, will thank your local public health heroes for helping to create healthy communities!

Members of the School community are invited to add their “thank-yous” to a whiteboard located in the Michael Hooker Research Center’s Armfield Atrium through Tuesday, Nov. 20.
Learn more about how you can take part at


UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or