March 10, 2016
On Wednesday, March 9, five speakers at the annual GillingsX event shared how they apply innovative approaches to the field of public health, both locally and globally.
The GillingsX talks, which are similar in format to TED Talks, offer pithy, engaging takes on complex subjects. This year, students and faculty of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health chose five speakers to share their stories.
All five talks will soon be available on the UNC Gillings YouTube channel.
In the first talk of the evening, Camille McGirt, a graduate student in the Gillings School’s Department of Health Policy and Management, shared a talk titled, “The Power of ‘Do’: How I Created Healthy Girls Save the World.”
Healthy Girls Save the World (HGSW), which McGirt co-founded in 2011, works with universities to provide a positive space for middle school girls and to foster their development of healthy habits relating to physical activity, nutrition, mental health and social well-being.
McGirt began HGSW by hosting events at local libraries in Durham, North Carolina, and had only six counselors to serve 27 participants. Now, the nonprofit has won national awards and served more than 300 girls from Durham, Orange and Wake Counties.
Jean Lambert Chalachala, MD, offered the second GillingsX presentation. He spoke about his journey to become a medical doctor and his decision to get involved in public health.
Chalachala, originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a Rotary Peace Fellow and a second-year graduate student in the UNC Gillings Department of Maternal and Child Health. As he explained it, “I never planned to become a medical doctor – my mother decided for me!”
When he thinks about his path now, he says, he understands that his fifteen years of experience as a doctor was just the beginning of a lifelong career journey from clinical practice to global public health.
“North Carolina’s Latino population has grown significantly in recent years,” pointed out Humberto Rodriguez, a graduate student in the Gillings School’s Department of Health Behavior.
His talk, titled “Nuestra Salud: Community Partnerships In Public Health,” shared the results of collaborative efforts to sample Latino/Hispanic residents as part of Durham County’s Community Health Assessment. In particular, Humberto linked the issues of migration, community collaborations and public health.
Chen Zhang’s presentation discussed “Gamification, or: how I learned to stop worrying and embrace gameful health.” In his talk, the UNC Gillings graduate student of health behavior shared how being an avid video-gamer shaped his beliefs about public health programs and service.
After defining gamification (the application of typical elements of glame playing, like points, to other activities, like the classroom), he explained how its application to serious subjects can open up a world of opportunity to better engage people around important public health messages.
Zhang also shared his summer practicum project, Epic Allies, and his current work on developing a teaching game for neurosurgery residents.
As a UNC Gillings doctoral student of maternal and child health and a Rotary Peace Fellow, Rebeccah Bartlett, MPH, is uniquely positioned to speak on, “Technology for crisis: how mobile health applications can increase reproductive health knowledge in refugee settings.”
Bartlett, a nurse-midwife, shared the stage with a team of UNC students. Together, they are developing a mobile health – or mHealth – application called mAdapt. In her talk, Bartlett explained how mobile technology can be used in refugee settings to improve reproductive health access and knowledge.