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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

UNC Celebrates Public Health Thank You Day

As Thanksgiving approaches, students and faculty members at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health join Research America in thanking the public health heroes who keep our communities clean, safe, and healthy – as well as educators and others who have inspired today’s students of public health to become the public health leaders of tomorrow.

public health thank you day

With Ebola still in the international headlines, the Gillings School will support a public forum, “Will facts or fear determine our future?,” held this week at the UNC School of Nursing. The Gillings School has developed an Ebola information portal, and the School’s renowned virologist, Dr. Ralph Baric, was interviewed recently on National Public Radio, to talk about the importance of continued funding for infectious diseases research.

ebola preparedness unc

In 2013, the U.N. General Assembly designated November 19 as World Toilet Day (http://toiletday.org/), in an effort to raise awareness about the number of people globally who are without adequate water and hygiene services. This week, the Gillings School’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering will host the game of “Poo Minefield,” praised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a way to visualize health problems resulting from open defecation in developing economies.

toilet day
Photo: Toilets not only address health issues related to hygiene and sanitation, but also are shown to decrease violence against women and girls, who otherwise must attend to toileting needs in open fields. Photo on toiletday.org, courtesy of water.org.

On November 21, the Gillings School will host FoodCon, a daylong Food Sustainability Conference that features leaders in food sustainability. Topics include food security and entrepreneurship in NC, food policy and health, land, and resource management, financing and others.

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Photo: Gillings School student government representatives set up in preparation for a hunger lunch.

The School’s student government, in conjunction with the local Nourish International organization, also will host its monthly “Hunger Lunch” of beans, rice, and cornbread, to raise awareness and collect funds for those whose meals are not as easy to come by as ours. More than 150 students and faculty and staff members are expected at the event, which would raise about $600 for UNC’s Nourish International.

In early December, the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center will present an installment of its 2014-2015 seminar series on “Insight, Implementation, Innovation and Integration: Drug Overdose Prevention in North Carolina”. Presenters will discuss key elements of drug overdose prevention and describe strategies to effectively counteract the rapidly changing landscape of misuse/abuse/diversion of drugs in NC.

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Photo: Gillings School alumnus Dr. Nab Dasgupta (right) and epidemiology professor Dr. Steve Marshall examine a naloxone rescue kit used to prevent opioid drug overdoses.