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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Toward a healthier future

Gillings School of Global Public Health Dean Barbara Rimer


What is the mission of your school?

Since our founding in 1940, we have been committed to solving some of North Carolina’s and the world’s most persistent public health problems. We are driven to find solutions and apply them at scale to improve health and the environment while eliminating health inequities. 

What are the challenges of the 21st century?

We are training the next generation of public health leaders and creating evidence-based products, programs and policies. Our faculty members tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges – diseases such as cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes and conditions such as opioid addiction, alcohol and tobacco use, obesity, preventable deaths of mothers and babies, accidents, climate, access to clean water, AIDS and emerging infections. 

How is modern technology being used to transform the quality and delivery of care?

We are testing the potential of cell phones and drones to deliver health messages effectively. We are using cutting-edge tools from genetics and genomics, applying artificial intelligence, working in labs and communities to understand diseases and improve health.

What are your students like?

Like our faculty and staff members, Gillings students are practical idealists. Our pathbreaking 21st-century academic programs catalyze their creativity, curiosity, their commitment and collaboration, giving them knowledge, tools and skills to move ideas into action. They create powerful interventions and sometimes even companies. From solving public health problems in schools, our graduates get jobs and go on to be public health leaders in North Carolina, the United States and around the world.

As Carolina celebrates its 225th anniversary this year, we’ll spotlight the ways the University is preparing our students to thrive in a dynamic society and how it is opening the doors for great
minds to make transformative discoveries. Throughout the year in the Gazette and on, we’ll profile academic units, hear from deans and learn about programs that set Carolina apart from
other universities.