Public Health

Thania Benios Health and Science Editor at UNC

It’s not often that you get the chance to interview your personal hero on the day you become a doctor, but yesterday, I got to do just that. Minutes after I graduated from UNC School of Medicine, I had the chance to speak with UNC commencement speaker Dr. Atul Gawande. Dr. Gawande is a Harvard surgeon, best-selling author and has been named one of the world’s 100 most influential thinkers by TIME magazine. His acclaim comes from his ability to write about health care problems in a way that is easy to understand and powerful enough to effect change.

A picture of a stethoscope.
jasleen_kaur / Flickr/Creative Commons

A new online guidebook aims to help connect doctors with public health agencies to fight chronic illnesses like diabetes.  Those illnesses make up 80-percent of health care costs today, compared to only 20-percent in 1900.

Duke's Department of Community and Family Medicine partnered with the de Beaumont Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch "Public Health and Primary Care Together: A Practical Playbook.” It suggests ways primary care and public health providers can better manage chronic disease and combat rising health care costs.

A new study looks at the availability of caloric information from fast food restaurants online.
jasonlam via Flickr, Creative Commons

Many of the nation's largest restaurants chains are making calorie information available on menus online, according to new research out of Duke University. Part of the Affordable Care Act mandates the information be provided on all in-store menus for chains with more than 20 stores. Lead author of the study Gary Bennett is an associate professor psychology, neuroscience, and global Health at Duke, and he says there are huge variations on how caloric and other nutritional content is presented to consumers.

Logo for ONE CALL, an HIV call center.
NC School of Public Health

A new statewide call center at UNC-Chapel Hill called ONE CALL will connect people diagnosed with HIV to the medical care, counseling, and other resources they need.

More than three quarters of those living with HIV in North Carolina do not seek treatment. Those who do receive proper treatment have a normal life expectancy and are much less likely to pass the virus on the their partners.

A beach near Wilmington, NC.
libby via flickr, Creative Commons

Environmental advocates say North Carolina's beaches fared well in their latest water quality study.  The Natural Resources Defense Council's 2012 "Testing The Waters" report examined many of the nation's beaches for levels of pollution. 

NRDC researchers found that two percent of samples from North Carolina beaches registered higher than the state's maximum bacterial limit.  Jon Devine, a senior attorney with the NRDC, says states like North Carolina are taking steps to stop bacterial contamination.

Salmonella, magnified 15,000X, virus, disease
CDC/ Janice Haney Carr

The number of people sickened by salmonella traced to a Fayetteville area hotel has risen to at least 82.  Officials say the outbreak happened earlier this month at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux.  Buck Wilson is the public health director for Cumberland County.  He says finding the precise cause is challenging. 

Public Health Cuts in State Budget

Jun 20, 2011

State public health leaders are regrouping after the budget passed last week, determining how to do more with less.

At first glance, it seems like the state's division of public health got a big bump - going from 160 to 190 million dollars next year. But state Health Director Jeff Engel says that's a one time infusion, as state budget writers eliminated the Health and Wellness Trust Fund and shifted this year's allocation to his department.

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