Public Health

Alex Dornburg scuba diving
Courtesy of Alex Dornburg

By modeling the evolutionary biology of ray-finned fishes, Alex Dornburg is answering an array of cross-disciplinary questions. His research on fish’s “tree of life” has applications for creating public health reporting systems, fighting antibiotic resistance, directing reforestation efforts in Madagascar and overturning understanding of biodiversity in Antarctica. 

Image of Lisa Hightown-Weidman and her family
Courtesy of Lisa Hightow-Weidman

Lisa Hightow-Weidman grew up with her nose always in a book. She majored in English in college and had aspirations of becoming a writer.

Skin of a person after 3 days of measles infection.
Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

An unvaccinated Wake County teen has survived a case of the measles. He contracted the potentially lethal disease after traveling in Europe, according to health officials.

A picture of a competition swimming pool.
ruurmo / flickr.com/photos/rufino_uribe/178577542/

Wake County is encouraging its 1,600 public pools to shock treat their water to kill a diarrhea-causing parasite.

Twenty cases of cryptosporidiosis have been reported to the county health department. The diarrhea disease is caused by a parasite that can spread if contaminated water gets in a person's mouth. Other symptoms can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever and can last one to two weeks.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

Supporters of North Carolina's House Bill 2 say it protects public health and safety by requiring people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

But opponents point to research that says restrictions based on sexual orientation or gender identity worsen health outcomes among people in those communities. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Shoshana Goldberg, a doctoral candidate at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, about the public health implications of House Bill 2.

Condoms
Inga / Wikipedia

Wake County reported more than 200 syphilis cases last year. Wake County's Public Health Director Sue Lynn Ledford says that's a big up-tick compared to fewer than 40 cases in 2003. A majority of new cases involve African-American men who are HIV positive.

Image of football players
Creative Commons/ stnorbert

The NCAA reports college athletes suffer more than 10,000 concussions a year, but perhaps more alarming is the fact that about three-quarters of these cases are not reported to coaches or team doctors.

Two public health experts at UNC-Greensboro have received grants from the Department of Defense and NCAA to help encourage these players report their injuries and change the culture of concussions. 

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known as the primary carrier of the Zika virus.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Wake County Health Department confirmed another case of the Zika virus this week.

It is the fifth confirmed case in North Carolina since the outbreak in Brazil. But scientists here say differences in mosquito species, climate and lifestyle make it much more difficult for the virus to spread. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Michael Reiskind, entomology professor at North Carolina State University, about why he thinks a Zika outbreak in North Carolina is not likely.

Sarah Razak / Flickr Creative Commons

Water contamination in Flint, Mich., is perhaps the most prominent minority health crisis in America right now. It is affecting a majority African-American city, and raising questions about whether state leaders disproportionately distributed resources.

This type of intersection between public health and social justice is the theme of this year's Minority Health Conference at UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Aedes aegypti mosquito
James Gathany / CDC

Health care professionals and researchers across the state are ramping up to assist in the fight against the mosquito-borne Zika virus. 

Infections in pregnant women in Brazil are thought to be behind a steep increase in cases of microcephaly  in that country.  The condition results in babies having abnormally small brains and heads.

Image of Ken Dodge, professor of public policy at Duke
Duke University

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year.

There is a common metaphor in the scientific community that uses flowers to describe children’s sensitivity to their environments. A child like a dandelion will turn out fine despite the circumstances she is raised in, while a child like an orchid will flounder without a nourishing environment, but blossom with care and support. 

A bunch of red balloons.
LeAnn E. Crowe / Flickr

It's World AIDS Day, a time when health educators work to raise awareness about the threat of HIV/AIDS. The state Department of Health and Human Services estimates that more than 36,000 North Carolinians are living with HIV

Image of Glen Warren and his three children
Glen Warren

Glen Warren vividly remembers the first moments of single fatherhood: he was standing in the living room of his new mobile home with his three kids, and he quickly realized that he had no idea how to make them dinner. 

In the coming years he learned how to piece together meals, filed for child support, and worked multiple jobs to put food on the table. And through all of this, he became increasingly certain about one thing: fatherhood is incredibly important. 

A picture of hot dogs in a hot dog stand.
rollingrck / Flickr

The Durham County Department of Public Health wants consumers to know if food from mobile food vendors is coming from somebody who has a permit to sell it.

Environmental Health Director Christopher Salter said the department is also working to inform vendors of food safety regulations, which bar home food prep and selling from a stand without a permit.

An image of the sun
Dominik Hundhammer / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:India_Goa_Fort_Chapora_Chapora_River.jpg

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for 17 counties in the eastern and southeastern part of the state today. The heat index could reach 105 degrees in the Sand Hills by early this evening.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services warns that these high temperatures put people—especially the elderly, the very young, and those on specific medications—at risk for heat stroke.

Orange County is North Carolina's Healthiest County according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. The study evaluates every county in America based on factors like premature death, child poverty and crime. The report listed Wake County as the state's second healthiest.

Photo: Flu vaccine
Flickr user Daniel Paquet

A bipartisan group of North Carolina senators are worried about a rise in contagious diseases, and they want to eliminate the state’s exemption of childhood vaccination requirements for parents who object for religious reasons.

The senators, under a bill they filed on Thursday, are proposing to change the vaccination schedule for children who attend public schools.

Ken Dodge's research has been following the same group of children for more than 20 years.
Ken Dodge

    

There is a common metaphor in the scientific community that uses flowers to describe children’s sensitivity to their environments.

A child like a dandelion will turn out fine despite the circumstances she is raised in, while a child like an orchid will flounder without a nourishing environment, but blossom with care and support.

Photo from the first U.S. nuclear field exercise on land on Nov. 1, 1951.
Federal Government of the United States / Wikimedia Commons

    

It has been nearly 50 years since the U.S. and the Soviet Union first sat down to talk about limiting their arsenals of nuclear weapons. 

Today, Russia and the U.S. have reduced their stockpiles, but they still have nearly 2,000 warheads each and several other countries have shown interest in creating or expanding their nuclear arsenal. 

So how do we gauge the threat of a nuclear conflict? What would nuclear war look like if it were limited to one region of the world?

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.
Flickr.com

Health outcomes are tied to income and education, according to many studies, but little work has been done to examine the connections between long-term wealth and levels of well-being. 

Researchers will explore that idea and other ways economic mobility relates to health in minority populations on Friday at UNC-Chapel Hill's annual Minority Health Conference. 

Image from Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Flickr/Herald Post

Public incidents in the NFL in the past year sparked a national conversation about domestic violence. But millions of Americans are struggling with this issue in private. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four women and one in seven men in the United States will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes.

Penelope Easton ventured to the Alaskan territory as a young woman in 1948. It would have been an intimidating move for many young women in that era. But for Easton, the move was just another in a series of adventures across the globe.

Ebola Sign
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina boasts many resources when it comes to combating the Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa. Two pharmaceutical companies are developing potential vaccines. Duke University Hospital has proven its ability to treat potential Ebola patients, while UNC has students helping to track the spread of the disease in Liberia. Soldiers from Fort Bragg have been enlisted in the ground effort.

All these resources are part of not only fighting the virus overseas, but protecting North Carolinians.

A picture of colorized Ebola particles.
Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine / Wikipedia

North Carolina health and safety officials are building a united front to prepare against the Ebola virus.

State Health and Human Services secretary Aldona Wos announced at a press conference yesterday that the Centers for Disease Control has named North Carolina's State Laboratory of Public Health to be a regional hub to test potential Ebola specimens.

Jim Dollar/Flickr

Note: This is a rebroadcast of a show that aired June 25, 2014.

Federal law permits children to work in agriculture from younger ages and for longer hours than any other industry.

Jim Dollar/Flickr

Federal law permits children to work in agriculture from younger ages and for longer hours than any other industry.

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.

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