INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC HEALTH
So high were Floyd's flood waters that they lifted dwellings off the ground, moved them and set them down
randomly. Woodrow Walston of Princeville looks over evidence that his home of 20 years was completely
He went there on the heels of many
from the University. The list ofschools,
departments and impromptu gatherings
of students and staff who collected money
and supplies and trekked to help people
in dire need is quite long. For medical
students, Granville residents and folks in
the athletics department it was time taken
out of their other work.
But in the School of Public Health the
disaster called out to the core business.
Multiple threats of disease, whole commu-
nities tagged "contaminated," people cut
offfrom the nonnallines ofhelp and infor-
mation was grow1d zero for the 60-year-
old school. It was, as one faculty member
said, "Public Health 101 for our students."
By coincidence, Floyd and the N.C.
Institute for Public Health arrived at the
The country's first state university public
health school already was a consistent top
three ranker-those who seek to study
public health consider Carolina the way
running backs look at Nebraska. Dean Bill
Roper, who had been a top health aide
to presidents Reagan and Bush and had
directed the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention by his early 40s, in 1997
brought to the school an aggressive agenda.
In his second month here he sat down
with Bill Friday ' 48 (LLB). Friday advised
hinl that, above all, he should find ways
to involve the school with the people of
the state. Roper, new to North Carolina,
then was introduced to the Institute of
Government. He had his model.
The Institute for Public Health was
chartered to elevate the school's presence
as a partner with health practitioners in
areas of the state where a university often
is viewed as strictly academic. The institute
was six weeks into its honeymoon when
Floyd sunmloned all its resources.
"Many North Carolinians have no
concept of the school," Roper said. ''I'm
sure there are a lot offolks who think we're
an ivory tower, out of touch, not engaged.
I hope that number is smaller now."
The institute's staff will be able to tell
succeeding generations that, before any-
one even knew they existed, they were
Jan"ary/ February 2000