|The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has a 70-year history of global health leadership and innovation. Our cutting-edge research programs focus on high-impact, practical applications, with potential to benefit millions in the developing world. Our partnerships with governments, nonprofits and communities have accelerated solutions to many of the pressing global health challenges represented by the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.
Ending poverty and hunger is the United Nation's top Millennium Development Goal.
Many of our students become global health leaders who continue to apply entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box thinking to the health challenges around the world. We use creative, innovative approaches in our global outreach, developing collaborations between health, business and other fields to address human needs.
Our global leadership position was formalized in September 2008, when we became the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. We currently are working in more than 50 countries. Our strengths include:
- Infectious diseases. Our interdisciplinary approach focuses on HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and other emerging and re-emerging infections. We are pioneering work on these diseases in Malawi, Madagascar, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo; addressing adolescent vulnerability to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Haiti; and developing stronger health systems in China, Malawi and India. In the Americas, we are building public health preparedness into Guatemala's health system, strengthening surveillance in Nicaragua and Guatemala, and developing biostatistical and training collaborations in Chile and Brazil. We collaborate with the Public Health Foundation of India to develop more effective surveillance and integrative responses to zoonotic diseases, such as rabies and avian influenza. Our Gillings Innovation Labs develop state-of-the-art methods to map and control diseases like malaria and deliver vaccines more quickly and effectively and at a lower cost.
- Global nutrition. Nutrition problems - from under-nutrition to obesity - are a cornerstone of our global work on human nutrition from the molecular to the policy level. Founded in 2005, the Interdisciplinary Obesity Center (IDOC) at the University of North Carolina has emerged as a major national and global resource in the area of obesity research. Its 75 scientists from many disciplines form a critical mass of expertise in virtually every area of obesity-related research. The new Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis, N.C., is finding ways to use nutrition to enhance brain development and prevent and treat diabetes, cancer and other nutrition-related diseases - issues highly relevant to transitional economies such as India, Russia and China, where malnutrition and poverty exist side-by-side with rising rates of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes. Our faculty members coined the term "nutrition transition" to explain these changes. We are working with the Public Health Foundation of India to plan a Center for Excellence in Nutrition, which will focus on using cutting-edge methodology to address problems of chronic under-nutrition, obesity, and all the related complications affecting India.
- Clean water and air. We are internationally known for our innovative work on clean water and sanitation, water harvesting, urban air pollution and toxic chemicals in the environment. We are unique among schools of public health in having a department of environmental sciences and engineering - one of the top 10 environmental engineering departments in the U.S. - within
our School. This ensures strong links and cross-fertilization between environmental and human health efforts. Our decades of experience in working with governments around the world include our current partnership with the United Arab Emirates, one of the fastest developing nations in the world, where we are helping to build a strategy to reduce environmental health risks. Our evaluations of safe water filtration and treatment technologies have built our reputation among international organizations as the "gold standard" to use when choosing effective water interventions. In Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, we are developing entrepreneurial, market-based approaches to scale up and sustain point-of-use safe water and sanitation programs. Gillings Innovation Laboratories are developing portable field-testing equipment and technologies to detect arsenic exposure from contaminated drinking water. Our School will soon launch a Global Water Institute, and our faculty has a leading role in UNC's Institute for the Environment, which combines public health, medicine, law, government, business and mass communications.
Dr. Will Vizuete stands by one of the School's smog chambers.
Health of women and children. Our recent designation as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health reflects our global leadership in this arena. We also are known for our work in infant and young child feeding, early childhood development and family violence. UNC hosts the longstanding USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation project, which assists countries to use data to plan, manage, evaluate and set policy for population, health and nutrition programs. MEASURE is internationally recognized for developing metrics and indicators to assess the impact of reproductive health programs.
A mother and her children visit a mobile clinic in the D.R. Congo. Photo by Anna Freeman, UNC public health student.
- Public health leadership and management. Our diverse faculty members are working to strengthen health systems, build leadership and management capacity, and assess
cost-effectiveness of different health care models and interventions. Considered the leader among public health schools in distance learning for more than 30 years, we have extended the reach of our master's, doctoral and certificate programs to reach health professionals in distant field stations around the world. We have established long-term capacity-building relationships with universities in a number of countries, notably Malawi, Guatemala, China, Chile, Brazil and India. Our Malawi-Carolina Summer Institute pairs our students and faculty with Malawian counterparts for teaching and internships.
Laura Cunningham takes an online course.
Over the next five years, we plan to consolidate and further strengthen our global health research and training. The most pressing health challenges and emerging diseases know no boundaries: global health is local health. We will continue to find unique, innovative ways to reduce the spread of diseases, improve health-care delivery systems and address global health disparities. We will use our trademark collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to institute transformative changes that can positively affect millions of lives. We also will work with our faculty, staff and students to build momentum and interest in global public health issues in the U.S. and seek more effective ways to shape the next generation of scientists, policymakers, and leaders.
Explore our website for more information on our Global Health projects, including these:
Keep up with our numerous global health projects by subscribing to the e-newsletter, This Week in Global Health.