March 14, 2023

The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health shares a long tradition with the legislators who serve North Carolina: Once every two years, all of North Carolina’s legislators are invited to visit the School and receive a briefing on both current projects that serve the state and future public health priorities.

Faculty, students and staff interact with N.C. legislators.

Faculty, students and staff interact with N.C. legislators.

On March 13, sixteen senators and representatives from the N.C. General Assembly met with with Gillings students, faculty and School leaders. Over lunch, the students shared highlights of their hands-on work that directly supports North Carolinians.

Later, Dean Nancy Messonnier, MD, spoke about what the School is doing to strengthen the health of the public across the entire state, and Associate Dean for Practice John Wiesman, DrPH, gave an overview of Gillings’ work with local communities.

Three faculty members shared examples of ongoing work in rural North Carolina that aligns with the School’s top three focus areas: promoting healthy families; keeping air and water safe; and preparing for the next public health crisis.

Professor Mark Holmes, PhD, who directs the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, discussed how to support vital rural hospitals. Professor Stephen Marshall, PhD, who directs UNC’s Injury Prevention Research Center, spoke about the best application of opioid settlement dollars to support N.C. families. Distinguished Professor Rebecca Fry, PhD, who directs the Institute for Environmental Health Solutions, shared strategies to protect children from toxins in their surroundings.

The group ended the day with a discussion of how the Gillings School and the General Assembly can collaborate for a healthier North Carolina.

“It was exciting to watch our faculty, staff and students engage the legislators in animated discussions about important public health topics,” Messonnier said. “I look forward to many more productive conversations as we continue to work together to improve health across the state.”

NC legislators visit the Gillings School in March 2023.

Guests included:


1. Representative Allen Buansi, Orange County
2. Representative Frank Sossamon, Granville and Vance Counties
3. Senator Jim Burgin, Harnett, Lee and Sampson Counties
4. Representative Pricey Harrison, Guilford County
5. Representative Renée Price, Caswell and Orange Counties
Dean Nancy Messonnier, Gillings School
6. Representative Carolyn G. Logan, Mecklenburg County


7. Representative Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, Guilford County
8. Senator Gale Adcock, Wake County
9. Representative Julie von Haefen, Wake County
10. Representative Lindsey Prather, Buncombe County
11. Representative Maria Cervania, Wake County
12. Representative Vernetta Alston, Durham County
13. Senator Rachel Hunt, Mecklenburg County
14. Representative Kanika Brown, Forsyth County


15. Senator Mike Woodard, Durham County
16. Representative Caleb Rudow, Buncombe County

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

Visit our communications and marketing team page.
Contact with any media inquiries or general questions.

Communications and Marketing Office
125 Rosenau Hall
CB #7400
135 Dauer Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400