|Our impact on global health|
Major reform over the past three decades has led to significant social and economic transformation of Chinese society. Higher incomes and ample food supply is accompanied by changes in the health and well-being of its large and aging population. We know very little about the pathways between these broad societal changes and the health behaviors of the people, especially in terms of disease risk across the life cycle.
Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, professor of nutrition, and her transdisciplinary team members have a grant from NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to examine data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) to examine the complex pathways through which community-, household-, and individual-level factors affect diet and physical activity, then the rate, degree, and timing of weight gain and ultimately, cardiometabolic risk across the life cycle. The research will ultimately lead to health promotion and disease prevention strategies in the world's most populous country.
How do we reduce the transmission of HIV and the perpetration of gender-based violence in countries suffering from high rates of these events? Suzanne Maman, PhD, associate professor of health behavior, was awarded more than $2.6 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to delve in to the ever persistent and challenging issue.
Her innovative twist is use of small loans and leadership training to young men in Dar es Salaam, the largest and richest city in Tanzania. This novel intervention addresses the infrastructure and social circumstances for men at risk for HIV while leveraging the strong network ties that exist in "camps." Camps are semiformal organizations of youth, mostly men, who socialize regularly in a fixed location.
Maman and colleagues hope the intervention will result in men having a lower incidence of sexually transmitted infections and perpetrating less physical or sexual violence against female partners. Eventually, Maman's approach is one that can be adapted, scaled-up and applied to young men in other global settings
Epidemiology professor Ralph Baric, PhD, is leading efforts of a UNC team to uncover novel genes and genetic functions that promote the spread of viruses including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Ebola, highly pathogenic influenza and a herpes virus, all of which cause acute and chronic life-threatening disease outcomes.
In conjunction with another team from the University of Wisconsin, Baric and the UNC team received more than $10 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to identify the pathogenic activity and determine therapeutic targets for how to ameliorate disease outcomes. The methods can be applied to other pathogens, will help improve strategies for designing effective vaccines, and will improve global responses to newly identified epidemic disease outbreaks.
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation granted $1.5 million to The Water Institute at UNC to improve strategies for making clean water accessible to those most in need and to sustain that access.
Environmental sciences and engineering professor and director of UNC's Water Institute, Jamie Bartram, PhD, is leading the five-year project to develop a monitoring, evaluation, and learning plan for the Foundation's Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) initiative. The focus of the interventions include at-risk populations in water-stressed regions of West Africa, India, and Mexico.
|Last updated September 17, 2013|