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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Georgia State Initiative to Focus on Non-Communicable Disease

The Georgia State University School of Public Health will lead a new initiative to address the global threat of non-communicable disease.

The Global Research Against Non-Communicable Disease (GRAND) Initiative, will be lead by Dr. Michael Eriksen, Dean of the School of Public Health, and include research partners from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

GRAND is one of eight faculty proposals approved as part of Georgia State’s Next Generation faculty program, a successor to the Second Century Initiative, which has brought 61 new faculty positions to the university over the last five years. Funding for the proposals is expected to be about $2 million in the next year.

The GRAND Initiative will address the growing global threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental illness. NCDs, also referred to as chronic diseases, are the leading cause of mortality around the globe, according to the World Health Organization. These health problems have long been the major cause of death and disease in high-income countries and are growing at alarming rates in low- and middle-income countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that NCD deaths now exceed all communicable, maternal and perinatal nutrition-related deaths combined. By 2020, NCDs are expected to account for seven of every 10 deaths worldwide.

Georgia State will be recruiting for a senior scholar with an international reputation to lead this effort. This initiative will extend Georgia State’s interdisciplinary expertise in the risk factors of tobacco use, obesity, asthma, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, mental health and alcohol, as well as cross-cutting intervention methods of epidemiology, disease modeling, behavior change, health economics and health policy. The GRAND Initiative will hire new faculty who will collaborate with current faculty to develop strategies to reduce the global burden of these diseases, help more people enjoy longer, healthier, more productive lives and reduce overall healthcare costs.

Public health faculty will also collaborate on two other new initiatives: Integrative Understanding of Infectious Diseases, and the Future of Cities Research Institute.

The Next Generation program aims to build broadly recognized strength around core and emerging research and scholarly themes that have strategic importance to the university. The program will build new faculty strength in innovative scholarly and research areas to maintain Georgia State’s growing scholarly trajectory and recruit in these strategic areas a diverse cadre of faculty who can engage a diverse community of students.