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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC: Two Health Behavior Faculty Receive NIH Career Development Awards

Two researchers at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health have received Career Development Awards from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Marissa Hall and Dr. Sarah Mills are both assistant professors in the Gillings School’s Department of Health Behavior and members of UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Hall received a K01 — a Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award — from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to test the impact of health warnings on unhealthy food purchases among Latinos in the United States.

“Text-only health warnings, which typically appear only in English, could limit access to information among the 17.5 million Latinos in the U.S. with limited English proficiency,” Dr. Hall said. “My K01 will test whether image-based warnings help overcome literacy issues and language barriers, with the hope that they have potential to reduce health disparities among Latinos in regard to cardiovascular disease.”

Dr. Mills is the principal investigator of a K01 from the National Cancer Institute. Her grant, in the amount of ~$727,000, will focus on the particular threat of menthol cigarettes, which — being flavored — provide a common initiation point for adolescent smoking and are more difficult to quit than non-menthol cigarettes. In addition, menthol cigarettes are used disproportionately by youth, low-income and racial/ethnic minority smokers.

“The Food and Drug Administration needs the best evidence to guide its policy making,” Mills said. “This project will pool data across multiple jurisdictions and countries that have banned menthol cigarettes and use statistical modeling to estimate the public health impact of a proposed national menthol ban in the United States.”

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