Halpern proposed as interim chair of maternal and child health

March 21, 2014

Pending university approvals, Carolyn Halpern, PhD, will be appointed interim chair of the UNC Gillings School of Global Health’s Department of Maternal and Child Health, effective July 1.

Dr. Carolyn Halpern

Dr. Carolyn Halpern

Halpern, professor and currently vice-chair of the department, will replace Herbert Peterson, MD, Kenan Distinguished Professor and current chair. Peterson is stepping down after leading the department for 10 years to accelerate his work in global implementation science. He will remain a member of the maternal and child health faculty, with a joint appointment in the School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“Bert [Peterson] is a visionary,” said the Gillings School’s Dean Barbara K. Rimer. “His work in implementation science is exciting and will lead to a healthier world. He leaves the department in excellent shape. Dr. Halpern is an impressive scholar, researcher and teacher who has worked closely with Bert, and I am delighted she has agreed to serve as interim chair.”

Halpern is deputy director of the National Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and principal investigator of a study funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Her active grants portfolio includes serving as co-investigator of several National Institutes of Health projects evaluating interventions to reduce HIV risk in adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. Her most recent publications appear in the American Journal of Public Health, British Medical Journal, Journal of Adolescent Health, and the Maternal and Child Health Journal.
She directs the maternal and child health department’s doctoral program and teaches courses on adolescent health, sexuality, theory and grant development. She has mentored many students and served on a number of master’s and doctoral committees. She has been recognized by the UNC Graduate School for excellence in doctoral mentoring and by the national Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health with the Loretta Lacy Academic Leadership Award.

Halpern received her undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from the University of Houston.

Anna Maria Siega-Riz, PhD, professor of epidemiology and nutrition and associate dean for academic affairs at the Gillings School, is chair of the search committee for a permanent chair.


Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.