The University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Student Government Association led planning for the 2018 National Public Health Week, with support from the School’s North Carolina Institute for Public Health, Alumni Association, Office of Student Affairs and dean’s office. Taking inspiration from APHA’s daily themes, student leaders organized activities that focused on the concepts of healthier minds, meals, bodies, planet and world.
A pivotal event during the week has been the School’s three-day symposium, “Going Viral: Impact and Implications of the 1918 Flu Pandemic,” scheduled April 4 – 6 to mark the 100th anniversary of the flu that killed more than 50 million people around the world. The symposium keynote on April 5 featured Ms. Gina Kolata, best-selling author and journalist for The New York Times, who discussed her book, Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It. Learn more about the symposium here.
Other highlights for National Public Health Week included advocacy opportunities, mindful relaxation and yoga classes, and research presentations.
Events on April 2 focused on “a healthier mind.” They included a relax-and-rewind hour, during which students took a break with a sudoku puzzle or coloring book, and a mindful relaxation session, sponsored by the School’s Culture of Health initiative, to help with deep breathing and mind-decluttering. At noon, students hosted a session about public health leadership and invited the School community to submit an Instagram photo showing why public health is important. An afternoon panel discussion, “What the Health is Going On,” discussed health insurance and health care reform.
April 3 events focused on “a healthier meal.” Gillings School student government leaders hosted a ‘Hunger Lunch’ of beans, cornbread and rice to support Nourish UNC’s local domestic partnerships. An afternoon event, “Carolina Blue Sky and Green Lettuce,” offered a tour of the Carolina Campus Community Garden. Participants learned how to develop their gardening skills while volunteering to provide food for UNC’s lower-wage workers. The garden tour was followed by an exhibit on “Surviving with SNAP,” during which students accepted the challenge of surviving on a daily food budget of $4.33, the average benefit awarded to those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The afternoon also brought a series of short talks on “Building a Better Baby: Approaches to Studying Feeding During Early Life and Health Effects,” led by the School’s department of nutrition. A full schedule of the mini-symposium events is available here.
‘A healthier body’ was the message for April 4. At lunchtime, students were invited to play “Pandemic,” a board game in which two- or four-person teams collaborated to save the world from disease outbreaks. The afternoon offered two yoga classes, during which people of all ages and skills levels restored their minds and bodies.
The message for April 5, “A healthier planet,” included a save-the-planet research poster session by undergraduate students in environmental health sciences and an informational meeting of “A Drink for Tomorrow,” a nonprofit that works to raise awareness about the global drinking water crisis.
“A healthier world,” highlighted on April 6, featured presentations by the Student Global Health Committee, describing ways they stay involved in global health at the Gillings School and around the world. There were two afternoon events. Dr. Ilene Speizer, professor of maternal and child health, presented a talk on “Global Health Innovation: Novel Ideas, New Horizons,” as part of the American Mock World Health Organization meeting at the Gillings School, and Carolina Women’s Center held an informational session about gender equity, safe pregnancy and childbirth, and violence prevention and response.
At the Gillings School, we’re proud to be changing our future together – aiming to be the healthiest nation in one generation!