Dowdy becomes Gillings School’s director of communications, marketing

January 14, 2019

Layla Dowdy

Layla Dowdy

Layla Dowdy, MS, MBA, former director of research communications at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the new UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health director of communications, effective Jan. 7.

As UNC’s research communications director, Dowdy established the first branding program for UNC Research, focusing on strategies and tactics to promote the impact and value of Carolina’s $1 billion research enterprise. She led a team of writers, editors, web administrators, graphic designers and students, and initiated a number of innovations, including the popular Women in Science Wednesday series.

Prior to joining UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014, Dowdy was on the marketing and communications team at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for nine years, providing creative ideas and solutions in a time of transition after the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program. Her efforts led to significant increases in guest attendance at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Dowdy acquires the position at the Gillings School as the communications office transitions to a more integrated and comprehensive communications and marketing endeavor.

“We are confident that, with Layla’s strong communications and marketing credentials, management and leadership experience, and demonstrated skills, she will lead our communications and marketing enterprise effectively and will take our efforts to an exciting new level,” said Gillings School dean, Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH. “We are pleased to have her with us and are excited to welcome her to our Gillings School leadership team.”

Dowdy earned a Bachelor of Science in public relations and Master of Science in integrated marketing and management communication at Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from the Florida Institute of Technology.


Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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