The North Carolina Institute for Public Health in 2017

Transforming Public Health Through Collaboration

Interim Director’s Note

Rachel Wilfert, MD, MPH, CPH

We are delighted to present this year’s annual report for the 2017 fiscal year. The report highlights many of our projects and accomplishments, with particular attention to the fact that the work we do is in support of and in collaboration with our public health practice partners across North Carolina. As the practice and service unit of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, we support the frontline needs of public health departments and other organizations striving to improve the health of North Carolinians. Whether it is state and local health departments, health care systems, foundations, associations or the university, a true strength of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) is the many partnerships and collaborations we’ve formed through the years.

Collaboration with public health practice partners was strengthened across the School as a whole this past year with the establishment of a Practice Advisory Committee for UNC Gillings. The Practice Advisory Committee has representation from local health departments, community organizations, state public health leaders, statewide professional associations and other stakeholders across the state and will serve as an advisory group for the School as a whole to further deepen connections within North Carolina. While NCIPH serves to provide a strong anchor for many of UNC Gillings practice activities, there are many, many more practice-focused activities that are carried out by faculty, staff and students throughout the School.

This year saw a transition in leadership at NCIPH. Anna Schenck, PhD, MSPH, served as NCIPH director for six years. During that time, she helped successfully transition NCIPH from an organization largely dependent on federal funding to one that has a diverse portfolio of projects and programs, focused especially on North Carolina. She also led a physical transition of NCIPH onto campus, allowing us to collaborate more closely with Gillings faculty, staff and students. She accomplished all of this while also holding positions as director of the Public Health Leadership Program (PHLP) and as associate dean for practice at UNC Gillings. University program reviews of both NCIPH and PHLP had high praise for Dr. Schenck’s leadership. Therefore, in May of 2017, I accepted the role of interim director of NCIPH. I’m honored to serve in this role and look forward to providing continuity for the organization’s work as we search for a permanent director.

All the best,

Rachel Wilfert, MD, MPH, CPH
Interim Director, North Carolina Institute for Public Health

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Transforming Public Health Through Collaboration

NCIPH Collaborates With Our Partners To:


skilled leaders across multiple sectors


accreditation capacity


accessible community health data


the value of public health through communications


the understanding of the social determinants of health to mobilize action


students in the practice of public health


use of evidence-based approaches

State Partners

Working with the NC Division of Public Health develops the next generation of public health managers and leaders.


Partnership that Invests in NC Leaders

NCPHLI Course Materials

Like many states, North Carolina is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of long-term, public health leaders who are reaching retirement age. This “graying” of the public health workforce has been on the mind of NC Division of Public Health Director Danny Staley, MS, for quite some time. Having participated in several high-quality leadership development programs early in his career, Staley recognizes that leadership development is an investment in the future. This is what led him to reach out to the NC Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) to design the North Carolina Public Health Leadership Institute (NCPHLI), a program created specifically for NC public health professionals. “There is currently a tremendous need for quality public health leadership,” said Staley. “The best way to have success is to have the best leaders.”

The NC Division of Public Health (NCDPH), with support from the NC Public Health Association (NCPHA), partnered with NCIPH to design and deliver an in-depth leadership program for professionals working in North Carolina state and local public health agencies.

In March 2017, the first cohort of the year-long NCPHLI kicked off with 18 public health professionals. The program uses a competitive application process to select a diverse group of professionals representing a variety of leadership roles within different branches of the NCDPH as well as local health departments across the state. The program aims to facilitate leadership development by incorporating formal training on key leadership practices with hands-on application. Additionally, the NCPHLI provides a unique opportunity to foster increased communications between state and local practitioners.

The NCPHLI incorporates various educational activities to help participants analyze their own leadership experiences, document leadership in action by observing the behaviors and actions of leaders around them, and apply leadership practices to a current challenge in their organization.

This program is one of many leadership development initiatives NCIPH has been involved with over the years, but “we are especially pleased to partner with NCDPH and NCPHA to offer this program for our state and local public health leaders,” said NCIPH Interim Director Rachel Wilfert, MD, MPH. “It’s a testament to the strong relationships that we have here in North Carolina that all of these partners are involved.”

Management and Supervision Class Participants

Extreme Makeover for the Management and Supervision Course

The Management and Supervision Course for Public Health Professionals is designed to address specific learning needs of new public health managers. After nearly 20 years of successful implementation, the curriculum underwent a major revision for the spring 2017 class. Key informant interviews with past participants and local health directors from across the state provided valuable information to inform the necessary curriculum changes.

This training course now offers more interactive sessions, experiential learning activities and breakout sessions for participants to choose from based on their individual preferences. “We see this course as an opportunity for local mid-level managers to develop core public health competencies that are reflected within the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals, TIER 2 supported by the Council on Linkages,” said Phyllis Rocco, RN, BSN, MPH, branch head of the Local Technical Assistance and Training Branch, NC Division of Public Health.

Funding support from the NC Division of Public Health helps to offset costs for local public health professionals to attend the in-depth program. NCIPH offers this training annually each spring to enhance the capacity of new managers to build and sustain productive working units in local North Carolina health departments.

Management and Supervision Class

Management and Supervision Participant Discussion

Management and Supervision Participant Discussion

NCLHDA Workshop

NCLHDA Workshop Presentation

NCLHDA Workshop Discussion

Accreditation Program Adapts to Changing Needs of Local Health Departments

Since 2002, the NC Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) has administered the state-mandated NC Local Health Department Accreditation (NCLHDA) program—a standards-based system for accrediting local public health departments throughout the state. Over the years, the program has seen great success with all 85 local health departments in North Carolina having been accredited by 2014 and all on track to have been reaccredited at least once by May of 2018.

In 2016, local health directors identified training on accreditation as a strong need due to large-scale retirements in the public health workforce, high turnover in the Agency Accreditation Coordinator (AAC) role within many agencies, and a change in the technical assistance model provided by the NC Division of Public Health. In response, the NC Association of Local Health Directors (NCALHD)-funded program launched a pilot AAC 101 and AAC Update training, presented at three locations across the state in July 2016.

Response was overwhelming and helped in developing a formal, multi-tiered training program, first presented in the fall of 2016. The training program includes an annual update webinar on program changes, bi-annual AAC 101 training, on-site Accreditation 101 training for local agency teams, and an annual Skills Building Workshop.

With the first Accreditation 101 training for local agency teams provided in Haywood County in April 2017, the First Annual NCLHD Accreditation Skills Building Workshop on July 24–25, 2017 in Durham, NC, and the first AAC 101 training scheduled in conjunction with the 2017 NCPHA meeting, the training program is well on its way to addressing its mission of supporting local health departments to be successful with accreditation. “For a new AAC especially, the accreditation trainings are invaluable,” said Lauren Wood, MS, an AAC in Haywood County. “NCIPH has effectively delivered well-organized, relevant information as well as an opportunity to engage with other local health department staff.”

This important work will continue in 2018, with an emphasis not just on training, but developing other support mechanisms that assist in sharing accreditation best practices from across the state. To learn more, contact or visit the NCLHDA website.

Putting Boots on the Ground to Survey Durham County Residents on Community Health

Durham CHA Survey Team

The Durham County Department of Public Health and NCIPH work in tandem to identify the most pressing health needs in Durham as part of the county’s Community Health Assessment (CHA) program. Since 2010, the team has partnered to interview Durham County residents to seek their opinions on health improvement plans and programs. To date, the team has collaborated on three survey efforts, knocked on thousands of doors and conducted 917 interviews. Several hundred community members and staff have been trained how to conduct these health interviews.

“Durham previously contracted out these services to a national group to conduct phone interviews, but this meant local stakeholders didn’t hear directly from the community and it was an expensive process,” said Mel Downey-Piper, MPH, Director of Health Education Community Transformation. “We wanted to support investment in public health groups like NCIPH to build local capacity to conduct interviews and have our staff and volunteers hear firsthand the community’s greatest health concerns.”

NCIPH provided technical assistance by drawing a random sample of households to survey, training volunteers and being onsite during data collection. According to Downey-Piper, the data collected is the highest quality data that the department has about the public’s perception of community health. The data collection methodology also allows the agency to generalize the sample to the entire county and use it to inform Durham’s health priorities.

Three Years of Durham CHA Teams

Durham CHA Team Assignments

Durham CHA Spanish-speaking Team Assignments

Assisting Local Health Departments in Communicating Their Value to Stakeholders

Granville Vance Public Health SOTCH and Annual Reports

NCIPH staff collaborated with Granville Vance Public Health (GVPH) to create their 2016 State of the County Health (SOTCH) Report and 2016 Annual Report. While the SOTCH report and the annual report have different purposes, NCIPH and GVPH staff worked together to develop the reports to complement each other. Both reports play essential roles in communicating to potential funders, community leaders, community members and other partners about the importance of public health issues and the role that local health departments play in addressing them.

NCIPH worked with GVPH staff to discuss the priority health issues identified in their Community Health Assessment and to identify emerging issues and new initiatives they wanted to highlight in their SOTCH report. They then worked to identify key messages to convey in the annual report. “We appreciated the assistance and capacity that NCIPH staff contributed to the development of the 2016 SOTCH report and the annual report,” said GVPH Health Director Lisa Macon Harrison, MPH. “Both of the reports were organized in thoughtful ways based on the suggestions and input that we provided.”

Reports like these are necessary for many organizations, and NCIPH partners with local health departments to plan the development process, collect the data and to create content that is easy to read and understand by a variety of audiences.

Download the reports:

Unique Training Program Leverages Insight of Former Local Health Leaders

Carmine Rocco, Haywood County

Glenn Martin, Rockingham County

Jill Moore, UNC School of Government

Wayne Raynor, Scotland County

Jerry Parks, Albemarle Region

With funding support from the NC Division of Public Health’s Local Technical Assistance and Training Branch, NCIPH provides training and orientation for North Carolina local public health governing boards. This training helps health departments introduce new board members to their roles and responsibilities as well as the legal authorities they carry as board members. The training also helps orient new board members to the field of public health in general and some of the key functions of a local health department.

NCIPH collaborates with the UNC School of Government to ensure that training content aligns with current NC legislative code and meets NC Local Health Department Accreditation program requirements. The training is updated annually and is delivered upon request to health departments across the state, as needed.

What makes the program successful and valuable is the knowledge and expertise of the trainers, all of whom are former local health department directors or current/former boards of health members themselves. Their deep understanding of what it means to be on a board or work with a board provides a high level of value to the trainees. “The trainers are really the heart and soul of the program,” said Rachel Wilfert, MD, MPH, interim director and training manager for NCIPH. “Their ability to draw on their own leadership experiences within local communities brings a wealth of information and expertise to the training program.”

Bill Browder, Chatham County

This past year saw the retirement of long-time trainer Bill Browder. A former director of continuing education programs at NCIPH, Browder also served as a board of health member in Chatham County and was a dedicated member of the Boards of Health training team for many years. We would like to thank him for his dedication and years of service.

Health Care Partners

Supporting health care systems in NC deepens connections to the community and within organizations.

Social Determinants of Health for Carolinas HealthCare System (Click this graphic to visit the Map Journal tool.)

Mapping Social Determinants of Health to Inform Community Health Planning

It’s been more than 150 years since John Snow, one of the keystones of modern epidemiology, first mapped clusters of cholera cases to persuade local authorities to take public health action. Ever since, maps have become a powerful decision-making tool to visualize and better understand the dynamic relationships, patterns and trends of health outcomes and resources.

Today, as the landscape of health care continues to rapidly change across the nation, Carolinas HealthCare System is leading the path towards prioritizing community health as a strategic focus area. To address community health, there is a growing focus within the health care sector to identify determinants of health which significantly impact health outcomes, disparities and elevated health care costs. Mapping determinants of health is an influential way to help decision makers understand the social, environmental and economic factors that impact health in a local geographic area as well as identify needs to inform community outreach, community benefit investments and initiatives.

Alisahah Cole, MD

Alisahah Cole, MD, system medical director for community health at Carolinas HealthCare System, collaborated with the NC Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) Senior Investigator Gene Matthews, JD; Analytic Research Associate John Wallace, PhD; and Research Associates Matt Simon, MA, GISP, and Kasey Decosimo, MPH, to conduct a Community Health Improvement Plan to examine determinants of health within the system’s primary service region. Based in Charlotte, NC, Carolinas HealthCare System is one of the largest health care organizations in the Southeast with more than 900 care locations in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Simon and Wallace used innovative geographic information systems tools to develop an online story map of 12 neighborhood-level determinants of health indicators for a 10-county service region. To visualize neighborhoods with the highest disparities among the determinants of health, NCIPH also created an overall index score that summarizes all 12 indicators.

With guidance from the NCIPH team, Carolinas HealthCare System gained a better understanding of the “upstream” factors that influence health to inform their community health planning and leverage a common understanding of factors to promote a collective response. In March, Carolinas HealthCare System used the story map with stakeholders to identify social focus areas for 2017–2019 and is currently using the data to build community partnerships and inform the following system-wide initiatives: faith community health ministry, community health, sponsorships and partnerships, community service projects, and grants and research.

Learn more about NCIPH's Technical Assistance

Collaboration Among NCIPH, Carolinas HealthCare and Novant Health

Project Team Presents at the Association for Community Health Improvement Conference

Supporting Leadership Development in Health Care Systems

Steve Orton with New Hanover Regional Medical Center Leadership Group

Steve Orton with New Hanover Regional Medical Center Leadership Group

NCIPH runs two customized leadership programs that help health care systems develop strong leadership teams. The first is a partnership with Novant Health, which has been in place since 2005. The Novant Health Leader Academy showcases and develops emerging leaders, builds teamwork skills and networking, and also functions as an organizational intervention. Top leaders in the organization are involved in the assessment phase and as team project sponsors. The current design team at Novant includes Senior Director of Corporate Organizational Development Bill Bartlett, EdD; Vice President for Human Resources Karen Power, SPHR, MSL; and Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive VP Janet Smith-Hill, MS. All three are graduates of the program. The NCIPH team is led by Steve Orton, PhD, Senior Investigator.


When the Novant-NCIPH design team authored an article describing the Novant Health Leader Academy program in the journal Organizational Design Practitioner (Cocowitch V, S Orton, J Daniels, D Kiser. “Reframing Leadership Development in Healthcare: An OD Approach.” OD Practitioner 2013 45(3): 10-18.,), it attracted the notice of Keith Strawn, MBA, VP of Human Resources at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, who asked NCIPH to help develop a similar program for his organization. After an initial planning phase, which was supported in part by a partnership with the South East Area Health Education Center, the program launched and is now in its second year. For more information on these programs visit the NCIPH leadership programs page.

Informing Strategies to Improve the Health of Children in Wake County

The John Rex Endowment provides support and grant-making to strengthen environments where children and families can live healthy lives in greater Wake County. It aims to achieve impact through building organizational capacity, shaping community policies and environments, and supporting system-level improvements. As the John Rex Endowment’s five-year strategic plan comes to a close, the foundation is beginning to plan for the next phase of work and asked the NC Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) to assist with information gathering and analysis of the current landscape in Wake County, especially as it relates to social determinants of health and identifying areas of high vulnerability in the county.

Working collaboratively with the John Rex Endowment team and subject matter experts, NCIPH identified reliable data sources at the census tract level and developed relevant indicators that represented a variety of social determinants that affect the emotional and physical health of children and their families. Staff then produced an Esri® Story Map with geographic information system technology to visually identify vulnerabilities and assets at the neighborhood level. Esri® Story Maps combine high-impact maps with narrative text, images and multimedia content to tell a complete story.

A second phase of the project will take place in the summer and fall of 2017 and will focus on partner engagement. Working with such a thought leader in philanthropy like the John Rex Endowment has been an exciting and rewarding opportunity for NCIPH to apply its technical expertise to an important planning process that will ultimately improve the health and well-being of Wake County’s vulnerable children and their families in a dynamic context.

These maps (click images to enlarge) are examples of visualizing publicly available data on the census tract-level. Our project with the John Rex Endowment looked at similar data as well as data from additional sources representing a variety of topics and populations that relate to children and families’ health and wellbeing to create an overall index for the county.

Collaborating to Support Healthy Places NC

TCPHC Community Health Summit

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is committed to improving the health and overall quality of life in rural North Carolina, through the Healthy Places NC initiative. This past year, as part of this initiative, NCIPH staff worked side-by-side with the Twin Counties Partnership for Healthier Communities (TCPHC), a 50-organization member group in Nash and Edgecombe counties. The theme of NCIPH’s work is “data to impact” with information-gathering and capacity-building activities to help guide the work of the TCPHC. Together with the TCPHC, NCIPH planned and conducted a survey to hear directly from residents about important health issues, understand their awareness of community resources and their readiness to use the resources. The survey questions were selected to inform TCPHC work plans and future programs.

Over the course of six days in March, 44 TCPHC members, NCIPH staff and UNC students knocked on more than 1,000 doors to interview 324 residents. In June, we collaborated with the TCPHC to share the survey results with leaders and residents at an inaugural community health summit. Trust Program Officer Aidil Ortiz-Hill, MEd, participated in the summit and was pleased to see the level of community engagement in the discussions. More collaboration on the theme of data to impact is planned for the next year of working with the TCPHC.

TCPHC Fact Sheets

Booker T. Theater Hosted the TCPHC Health Summit

Health Summit Discussion

Health Summit Discussion

TCPHC and UNC Staff Facilitators

TCPHC Students Practicum

Tablets Ready for Collecting Data

Transforming What It Means to Be a Leader in Public Health

The Kresge Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health (ELPH) initiative equips local public health officers with knowledge and skills to lead in today’s changing health care environment. Pairs of public health leaders embark on the 18-month, action-oriented experience to undertake projects designed to enhance organizational and leadership competencies in business, planning and public health systems development. Each team, which consists of a senior health officer and an emerging leader at a local public health agency, is expected to envision a new role for their agency and lead the transformation needed to assume this new role. 

The impetus for the initiative came from Phyllis Meadows, PhD, MSN, RN, a senior fellow with The Kresge Foundation. Designed in response to the changing landscape for local health departments, ELPH encourages local public health department leaders to advance innovative models to better position their organizations for new opportunities. The first cohort of ELPH launched in 2014 with 24 participants. Last year, The Kresge Foundation selected the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health as the national program office (NPO), administered through NCIPH, and challenged the NPO to recruit, select and support two additional cohorts of participants to help reach a goal of seeding the field with 100 leaders across the country who approach public health in a new way.

In May 2017, the second cohort of 20 teams met in New Orleans for the first of three sessions for leadership development and training. At the first convening, each team spent focused time discussing strategy and plans while being challenged by NPO and Kresge leadership to shift from a “project-centered” mindset to implementing new roles. One participant noted that the program “planted the seeds for a paradigm shift in my perspective about public health leadership.” Another said it “helped me to gain a stronger understanding of what transformative leadership is and how that will need to look for me as an individual as well as for my organization.”

Leadership teams will receive up to $125,000 for the work they have planned to actualize their transformative concept. The 18-month program culminates in the launch of a communications plan at the July 2018 NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officers) annual meeting.

Association Partners

Engaging with public health associations in NC and across the country keeps NCIPH on the cutting edge of developments in our field.

NCIPH Partners with Associations to Improve Health Outcomes of North Carolinians

As we have seen in other stories throughout this report, the work of improving the public’s health takes many partners from government, health care and foundations. Behind the scenes, associations play a vital role connecting partners to improve the health of all. The NC Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) works with associations to promote public health in North Carolina and nationwide. Here are the highlights of the vital work of these associations and our role in each.


North Carolina Public Health Association

Their work:

The NC Public Health Association formed in 1909 in an effort to promote public health in North Carolina. More than a century later, the Association of over 1,000 individuals and organizations continues to work through political advocacy, public awareness and professional development, and serves as an interface between research and practice.

Our role:

NCIPH and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health play many roles in NCPHA from exhibiting, presenting and hosting a breakfast at the annual Fall Educational Conference. Many NCIPH staff are members of NCPHA and serve as volunteers in the important work of the Association, and NCPHA is a key supporter of the NC Public Health Leadership Institute.



North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors

Their work:

The mission of the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors is to promote health, prevent disease and protect the environment in order to ensure the public’s health in North Carolina through leadership, vision, advocacy and commitment to the principles of public health practice in our local communities and throughout the state.

Our role:

As a partner organization, NCIPH’s director and managers attend the NCALHD monthly committee and membership meetings to learn about the issues facing local health departments and to provide an update on our activities and discuss ways to collaborate. NCALHD members also support the NC Local Health Department Accreditation Program through fees, and NCALHD serves as the administrator for the annual funding contract.



North Carolina Citizens for Public Health

Their work:

North Carolina Citizens for Public Health is a non-partisan association of citizens of North Carolina who advocate for strong public health policies that have a direct impact on protecting the health of the public of our state.

Our role:

The NCIPH director is a delegate member of NCCPH. Anna Schenck, PhD, director of NCIPH for the majority of the 2017 fiscal year and Associate Dean for Practice at UNC Gillings, participated in NCCPH meetings for many years, helping to ensure that the NCIPH and UNC Gillings are involved in this important organization and its mission.



National Network of Public Health Institutes

Their work:

Public health institutes are non-profit or academic sponsored organizations dedicated to advancing public health practice and making systematic improvements in population health that impact the health outcomes of groups (as opposed to just individuals). NNPHI, with more than 40 institutes, serves as a resource for government agencies, foundations, the health care delivery system, media and academia.

Our role:

As a member, NCIPH participates in the annual meeting (with four presentations at the 2017 conference) and recently received funding through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreement with NNPHI to perform research for improving healthy food in hospital and government cafeterias.



National Association of County and City Health Officials

Their work:

The National Association of County and City Health Officials seeks to improve the public's health while adhering to a set of core values: equity, excellence, participation, respect, integrity, leadership, science and innovation.

Our role:

Over the years, NCIPH has collaborated with NACCHO on many projects. Our current partnership is with The Kresge Foundation Emerging Leaders in Public Health program. (See story above in Foundations section of this report.)


Enhancing Public Health Students' Education Through Practice Opportunities

The NC Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) helps support student engagement with practice opportunities including practica, service learning and community-based projects. Three students’ stories are highlighted below, showing how their experiences helped them better understand the health challenges that residents of North Carolina face.

Kenny Chen

Kenny Chen, a student at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, pursuing an MSPH-PhD in epidemiology, participated in a Twin Counties Health Assessment in Nash and Edgecombe Counties. Over the course of six days, volunteers knocked on more than 1,000 doors and interviewed 324 households. “Talking with people and hearing their stories can add to the information that data can’t provide,” said Chen. “Even though anecdotal stories from our interviews can’t be directly used for the analysis, they provided us with examples to support our analysis results. Overall, the interview portion made me more passionate about making an impact on communities. It was an eye-opening experience for me.” Learn more about this work.

Brianah Williams

Brianah Williams, a 2017 public health graduate from NC Central University, had similar feelings about her involvement with UNC Gillings. Williams spent her last two undergraduate years as a fellow with the UNC PARTNERS Research & Training Program in Cancer Disparities. In her role, Williams had the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes in moving research projects forward. In addition to office work, Williams also participated in the Durham Community Health Assessment supported by NCIPH. “People don’t realize how much work it takes to run programs and trainings,” Williams said. “But conducting the community health assessment made me realize that I really want to be out in the community working directly with the population. I had so much fun the first day that I volunteered all four days,” she said. Learn more about this work.

Patrick Welsh

Patrick Welsh, a returned Peace Corps Volunteer pursuing a dual MBA/MSPH degree at UNC, echoed the sentiments of Chen and Williams after his work with NCIPH. Welsh worked on a collaboration between the North Carolina Alliance for Public Health Agencies and NCIPH to estimate health care cost-savings associated with prenatal care programs in North Carolina’s local health departments. Welsh assisted in the analysis and representation of risk factors and related local health department services that affect the probability of preterm and low birth-weight babies. After presenting the findings to the Alliance Board, Welsh emerged with a reaffirmed commitment to the work, noting that “this is exactly what I want to do.”

All three students are great examples of how NCIPH helps students engage with communities and connect in meaningful ways to apply public health practice in the real world and expand upon what they’re learning in the classroom.

Twin Counties Health Assessment Team Members Plan their Strategy

Twin Counties Health Assessment Survey Team

Reaccreditation Process Provides Opportunity for Reflection, Improvement

During the past year, the UNC Gillings School of Public Health was deeply engaged in the process of reaccreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the accrediting body for schools and programs of public health. The reaccreditation process ensures that all schools comply with CEPH’s academic criteria. The process, conducted every seven years, involved a self-study process, a formal written report and a site visit. CEPH accreditation criteria cover four broad domains: the School; the instructional programs; the creation, application and advancement of knowledge; and faculty and students.


NCIPH contributes to the success of the Gillings School in many ways, especially in linkages with practice, workforce development, community engagement and service. In addition, NCIPH staff, like others at Gillings, spent many months collecting, analyzing and presenting data as part of the reaccreditation process. Anna Schenck, PhD, Associate Dean for Practice, oversaw the review and response to accreditation criteria on practice, service and workforce development. “Engaging in the re-accreditation process provided a wonderful opportunity for us to look at how we, as a School, engage with the public health practice community and allowed us to examine our successes as well as areas in which we can improve,” said Dr. Schenck.

Along with the coinciding formation of the NC-focused Practice Advisory Committee, tangible outcomes from the self-study included a deeper understanding of the continuing education activities across departments and affiliated centers and institutes, and formation of an ad hoc workgroup across Gillings focused specifically on workforce development and continuing education.

Supporting Practice-Focused Activities within the Gillings School

In addition to the services that NCIPH provides in support of public health practice agencies throughout North Carolina, we also collaborate with departments and units at UNC Gillings School of Public Health to support practice-focused activities. Two examples of these collaborations are the work that NCIPH performs in conjunction with the Department of Maternal and Child Health and the Department of Nutrition at the Gillings School.

Since 2013, NCIPH has been a collaborating partner with the Department of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) on the National MCH Workforce Development Center. NCIPH designs and leads training sessions, builds online resources, provides coaching and consulting to state leadership teams, and collaborates with colleagues across the school, particularly around the areas of leadership and evidence-based decision making. NCIPH staff engaged in this effort include Senior Investigator Steve Orton, PhD; Workforce Development Associate Avia Mainor, MPH; and Research Associate Kasey Decosimo, MPH.

NCIPH and the Department of Nutrition have a mutually beneficial partnership, exchanging expertise to support one another’s continuing education programs. For example, NCIPH facilitates registration and other continuing education support for the department’s registered dietician program. In return, the Nutrition Department’s outreach services coordinator provides assistance to NCIPH with obtaining specialized credit required by registered dieticians for continuing education programs with Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program staff at their local health department. In addition this year, NCIPH continued to facilitate Nutrition faculty member, Carmen Samuel-Hodge, RD, PhD, in her on-site placement at North Carolina local health departments as part of an evolving rural academic health department model. To learn more about this collaboration, see the story in last year’s report.

Providing this critical support to other parts of the Gillings School enables them to do the work they need and want to do while also allowing NCIPH to identify opportunities to support and enhance the work going on within Gillings.

Steve Orton, PhD, and Dorothy Cilenti, DrPH

Carmen Samuel-Hodge, RD, PhD

Amanda Holliday, MS

Amy Mullenix, MSPH, MSW

Evidence in Action Training Team

Putting Evidence into Action for Cancer Prevention and Control

Jennifer Leeman, DrPH, MDIV

Since 2013, NCIPH has collaborated with Jennifer Leeman, DrPH, MDIV, associate professor at the UNC School of Nursing and principal investigator of UNC’s Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network Center, to provide training and interactive learning tools to support public health practitioners in planning and implementing evidence-based strategies. Although practitioners have access to a growing number of evidence-based strategies, many do not implement them because adopting and implementing evidence-based strategies requires knowledge, skills and resources that they may not currently have. Over three years, the collaborative trained more than 250 local public health and community-based practitioners in North Carolina and Oregon.

In September 2016, NCIPH Workforce Development Associate Avia Mainor, MPH, and Research Associate Kasey Decosimo, MPH, partnered with Dr. Leeman to adapt and deliver the training to the American Cancer Society. Evidence in Action was a one-day train-the-trainer pilot delivered in Atlanta, Georgia to 26 American Cancer Society staff working with Federally Qualified Health Centers and other clinical organizations and systems across the country. The overall objective of the training was to increase knowledge and skills around selecting, adapting, implementing and evaluating evidence-based strategies with a focus on colorectal cancer screening. For training pre- and post-work, the collaborative used online modules developed by NCIPH on defining evidence and program evaluation.

Learn more about NCIPH's Training

Evidence in Action Training Class

Dr. Leeman and NCIPH Training Team

Presentation during Evidence in Action

Grateful to Our Partners

As NCIPH continues to grow its portfolio of training and technical assistance programs, we are very grateful to the many wonderful organizations and people we worked with this past year, and we look forward to continuing these relationships and building new ones in the next year.

From July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, the NC Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) managed contracts and grants totaling $3,825,745 with the following clients:

NCIPH FY17 Funding Sources

  • State Appropriation - $342,645
  • NC AHEC - $170,470
  • Receipt Revenue - $621,884
  • Contracts & Grants - $1,658,920
  • F&A - $76,901
  • Other - $954,925
  • Total: $3,825,745