IMPACT, a quarterly newsletter from NCIPH
April 2015 UNC Gillings School of Public Health

Make the U.S. the Healthiest Nation in One Generation — by 2030!

American Public Health Association: For science, for action, for health

2015 is the American Public Health Association’s 20th anniversary of coordinating National Public Health Week. Learn what NCIPH is doing.

Anna SchenckThe North Carolina Institute of Public Health joins many partners to celebrate National Public Health Week, and to share in the goal to make the U.S. the healthiest nation in one generation.

The need has never been greater. Currently, the U.S. spends MORE and gets LESS when it comes to health care and public health outcomes. Improving public health is the defining challenge of our generation – a challenge that we are uniquely positioned to help overcome.

In this issue of IMPACT, we are pleased to share an example of how the Institute’s technical assistance to a local health department is helping decrease STDs. As you read on, you will find out about our updated training opportunities for North Carolina’s public health professionals, and how our research is assisting colleagues cope with the world of big data in the public health arena.

Best regards,
Anna Schenck (

Talk | Test | Protect
A Campaign to Increase STD testing in Vance County

Granville-Vance staff and associate degree nursing students
Jackie Sergent (far right), health promotion coordinator and health education
supervisor for the Granville-Vance District Health Department, with Associate
Degree Nursing students from VGCC.
Photo credit: Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC)

Chlamydia is the most common STD across North Carolina. In Vance County, eighty percent (80%) of chlamydia cases occur in young adults ages 15–24. Because many individuals with an active infection experience no symptoms, they remain untreated.

To create an effective and integrated public health campaign about the dangers of going untested, the Granville-Vance District Health Department sought out technical assistance from the North Carolina Institute of Public Health. Together with the Institute and People Designs the health department created Talk |Test |Protect.


Campaign partners addressed multiple challenges in crafting a strong, sustainable campaign, including the effect of stigma on behavior, the ethics of mapping and using communicable disease data, and how to mount the effort in the midst of staff turnovers and limited resources.

The goal of the campaign was to increase testing rates. Using baseline maps found in the North Carolina Electronic Disease Surveillance System, they pinpointed critical target areas within the county.

To implement the campaign, the group secured funding from the Triangle North Healthcare Foundation, and tapped the energies of associate degree nursing students from Vance-Granville Community College.

graph showing monthly gonorrhea and chlamydia testing for Granville and Vance counties
Monthly Gonorrhea and Chlamydia Testing Count by County in Granville and Vance Counties
Credit: Data analyzed by Cary Cotton, MD-MPH candidate at the Gillings School of Global Public Health

Campaign tactics included an after-hours clinic kick-off, visits to local schools, classes, health providers and community groups and the creation of an easy-to-navigate website.

The Outcomes

So far, the outcomes are encouraging. When comparing testing rates on days prior to and during the campaign, the results are statistically significant. The data suggests the campaign helped close the testing gap between Granville and Vance counties (right). Additionally, the jump in mean number of tests in one day occurred in October 2014 when campaign activity was at its peak.

Health department staff will present its final evaluation results and recommendations to the Granville-Vance District Health Department’s Board of Health this month. Tools and resources to replicate the evaluation components of this project are also being developed.

The upcoming edition of Essentials of Public Health Communication will include a summary of the campaign’s development from inception to outcome evaluation as a featured case study. Get more information about this project at Talk | Test | Protect and the Talk | Test | Protect Instagram.



UNC campus
UNC’s campus.
Photo credit:
Carol Gunther-Mohr

North Carolina Institute for Public Health Remains Focused

The landscape of public health is changing. Recently, Anna Schenck, director of the Institute shared some thoughts about the new realities we face.

“As the nation delves into the complexity of the Affordable Care Act and the resulting [new] health data, it needs inter-disciplinary teams developing evidence-based strategies to improve the public’s health. To bring North Carolina public health up in performance will take creativity, partnerships and sustained effort.”

The state ranks 37th among all 50 states in health outcomes.

Updated Introduction to Public Health in North Carolina training series

woman studying online

In 2014, we launched a revised version of Introduction to Public Health in North Carolina, our beginning training series for local public health employees. Since 2008, local health departments have looked to the North Carolina Institute for Public Health to provide their newly or recently hired employees the background information they need to effectively practice public health in North Carolina.

The refreshed training series is available online and may be completed as individual 15-35 minute sections or as one 3-hour course. The sections walk participants through:

  • What is Public Health?
  • Determinants of Health and Health Disparities
  • Public Health Core Functions and Essential Services
  • Public Health Infrastructure
  • Public Health in North Carolina
  • Public Health in the Context of the Broader Health Care Delivery System

Some health departments require new employees to complete this training as part of orientation activities and others recommend the coursework to new members of their local boards of health. The Institute also uses the training as a prerequisite for its Introduction to Public Health Nursing course.

Upcoming Course Offerings from NCIPH

Coming this year, from the North Carolina Institute of Public Health and the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center (NC OSHERC), are the following trainings:

Maternal Nutrition & Wellness* April 20 - June 26, 2015
Occupational Health Nursing: An Introduction and Review of Principles and Practices (NC OSHERC) May 4-6, 2015
Introduction to Public Health Nursing May 5-7, 2015
Breastfeeding Supplies Competency Training* May 18 - July 24, 2015
38th Annual Occupational Safety and Health Summer Institute (NC OSHERC) July 26-31, 2015
Physical Assessment of Adults and STD Nurse Clinician Training Combined Course* August 25, 2015 - March 10, 2016
Management and Supervision Webinar Series Fall 2015
Annual School Nurse Conference October 14-16, 2015

*Online course

Please check the NCIPH Course Catalog or the NC OSHERC Course Catalog for specific registration dates and deadlines.

People of NCIPH

The Institute: Born to Collaborate

The North Carolina Institute for Public Health is uniquely positioned to bridge the worlds of academia and practice. Our staff is trained in public health disciplines including health behavior, epidemiology, maternal and child health and health policy, as well as geography, information technology, medicine and sociology. Equally vital, many of our staff members worked in public health practice settings prior to joining the Institute.

Using our skills and experience, staff members have long collaborated with local, state and national public health partners. We also work in partnership within the UNC-Chapel Hill community including with health affairs schools such as nursing, medicine, and social work as well as the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, the UNC Institute for the Environment and the Renaissance Computing Institute.

Penny Slade-Sawyer
Penny Slade-Sawyer

Penny Slade-Sawyer joins the Institute

On February 16, we welcomed Penny Slade-Sawyer, PT, MSW, as a practice expert in residence at the Institute. As a practice expert in residence, she will be directly involved with several initiatives that play a vital role in future public health objectives in North Carolina -- Healthy North Carolina 2020, Gillings Culture of Health and a clearinghouse for public health students across NC to find field placements.

Slade-Sawyer comes to us from the North Carolina Division of Public Health. Before that, she served more than 20 years with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including roles as Assistant Surgeon General and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. In that capacity, she directed the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, which oversees the national health goals effort called Healthy People 2020, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the outstanding professionals at the Institute and to promote and advance public health in my native state of North Carolina.” Ms. Slade-Sawyer can be reached at and 919-843-3973.