|NC Institute for Public Health celebrates 10 years of leadership, service to state|
|October 19, 2009|
Presentations by some of North Carolina's leading health education professionals kicked off an event on Friday, Oct. 9, marking the 10th anniversary of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health's N.C. Institute for Public Health.
The Institute was launched in 1999 as a service initiative to provide specialized training, consulting, research and technical assistance to groups across the state striving to improve public-health practice and health care.
Its champion and first director was William L. Roper, MD, MPH, then dean of the UNC School of Public Health. Roper is now dean of the UNC School of Medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs, chief executive officer of UNC Health Care.
Edward L. Baker, MD, MPH, research professor of health policy and management, is the Institute's current director.
Among the speakers were William C. Friday, JD, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, whose wife, Ida Friday, was a health educator trained at UNC; Leah M. Devlin, DDS, MPH, Gillings Visiting Professor at the public health school and former N.C. State Health Director; and J. Steven Cline, DDS, MPH, deputy director of the N.C. Division of Public Health.
N.C. State Senator Fletcher L. Hartsell Jr. and William F. (Phred) Pilkington, DPA, chief executive officer and director of public health at Cabarrus Health Alliance (Cabarrus County, N.C.) were among those who praised the Institute's impact on the health of North Carolinians and its leadership across the nation and throughout the world.
One of the most heartfelt tributes came from Jo Anne Earp, ScD, professor and chair in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the School.
"Having been at Carolina when [the Institute] was still just the germ of an idea in Bill Roper's mind," Earp said, "it's a delight to be able to spend a little time considering how an organization gets started and how it comes to be an essential entity."
Earp used a textiles metaphor, familiar to North Carolinians, to describe how the Institute brought together talents from across the state in an entity greater than the sum of its parts:
Ten years ago, we had separate spools of thread - fine-spun yarn, in beautiful colors, no doubt, and of the highest quality - and these were woven into various patterns, sizes and shapes by diligent workers.
We could even go so far as to say that as a result of all that weaving, we had durable swatches of often high-quality fabric. But still they were only samples of cloth, bolts of cotton, in various sizes and colors and textures - not a whole garment, much less a tapestry.
Together, [those who are dedicated to the Institute] weave a tapestry that inspires people inside the University and elsewhere across North Carolina.
Through the Institute, Earp said, many public health students have had outstanding internships, practica and job placements.
"Even as [the students are] taking coursework in the School, they've learned real-world skills and gotten fabulous mentoring through the paid work they do at the Institute. They gain access to communities and deepen their professional networks through these connections so that, by the time they graduate, they can parlay their 'second-to-none' professional skills into excellent job opportunities, many of them in North Carolina."
Read a transcript of Earp's remarks online.
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|Last updated October 20, 2009|