UNC announces launch of Global Women’s Health division

March 8, 2012 — On this, International Women’s Day, the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases and UNC Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology announce the creation of UNC Global Women’s Health.

Dr. Jeff Stringer with Lydia Nambela, peer educator for Chipata Clinic in Zambia. Photo courtesy of CIDRZ

UNC Global Women’s Health (GWH) will be based in the UNC Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and bring together a faculty with diverse expertise in the health issues facing women and their families in developing world settings. The creation of UNC GWH is made possible through the recruitment of five new faculty based at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ). UNC GWH will collaborate with UNC’s established program in neighboring Malawi, where UNC faculty from multiple disciplines have been working successfully for more than two decades.

The mission of GWH will be to advance the health of women and their families in resource-limited settings through research, service delivery, and training.  A major focus will be to raise the profile of global health within the OB-GYN specialty and to train the next generation of OB-GYN leaders in global health.  Dr. Jeff Stringer will lead UNC GWH, the ninth division in the department of obstetrics and gynecology.

Faculty with UNC GWH will reside in Africa and collaborate in research, teaching and clinical care of women in Malawi and Zambia.  “Our aim is to establish the world’s premier program in global women’s health and there’s no better place on the planet to do that than UNC”, said Stringer. “There is already huge capacity for this work within the UNC community, and an obvious commitment to global health that spans the entire campus. We hope to leverage our existing resources in Zambia with those of UNC’s longstanding program in Malawi to create new regional and global opportunities for UNC faculty and students. We could not be more enthusiastic about joining UNC.”

Current research includes clinical trials focused on HIV prevention and treatment, especially as it relates to mother-to-child transmission.   The new division will provide training on procedures to prevent maternal deaths, childbirth injuries, and fistulas and screening methods for early cervical cancer detection.  Training the local health care workforce is critical for sustainability and for the long-term impact on the health of the population.  Most importantly, the group will be providing clinical care to women who otherwise would not receive the help that they so desperately need.

Dr. Herbert Peterson, chair of the Department of Maternal and Child Health at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health said, “The creation of this new division with a focus on global health under Jeff’s strong leadership is as timely as it can be and totally on target! I am confident that UNC GWH will be a powerful force for good in contributing to ongoing and planned initiatives in global maternal and newborn health.”

“UNC Global Women’s Health has the full support of the UNC School of Medicine,” said  Dr. William Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine. “The collaboration across departments, and across countries, along with the focus on training future providers, is a key part of our mission.”

Dr. Daniel Clarke-Pearson, chair of UNC OB-GYN, expressed his enthusiasm for the expansion of women’s global health initiatives.  “The department looks forward to making significant contributions to improve the health of women and their infants in resource-limited settings.  In collaboration with other departments and schools at UNC, I believe we are positioned to make great strides in providing better care, and solve health problems through research and education.”

“Under Dr. Stringer’s leadership, the alliance with CIDRZ, UNC GWH will pave the way for UNC to be the leader in global women’s health worldwide,” said Dr. Gretchen Stuart, a physician with UNC Women’s Primary Healthcare who has worked on family planning initiatives in Malawi.  “There will be new and profound opportunities to expand ongoing projects and concepts, and develop new ones, to improve the lives of women in resource-limited settings, especially Zambia and Malawi.”


Media contact: Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology: Juli Kidd, (919) 843-4927,  jkidd@med.unc.edu
Institute for Global Health & Infection Diseases:  Lisa Chensvold, (919) 843-5719, lisa_chensvold@med.unc.edu

UNC Global Women’s Health faculty

Name Areas of Focus
Jeffrey S.A. Stringer, MD
  • Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission
  • HIV/AIDS in women
  • Outcomes and effectiveness research
Carolyn Bolton, MBBCh, MSc
  • HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in children and women
  • Health systems
Benjamin H. Chi, MD, MSc
  • Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission
  • Clinical epidemiology
  • Research training for junior investigators
Groesbeck P. Parham, MD
  • Cervical cancer prevention in developing world settings
  • Surgical training in African settings
Elizabeth M. Stringer, MD, MSc
  • Contraception in HIV+ women
  • AIDS therapeutics in women
Jeffrey Wilkinson, MD
  • Fistula repair
  • Emergency obstetrics

UNC Global Women’s Health fellows:

Name Areas of Focus
Carla Chibewsha, MD, MSc
  • Maternal mortality reduction
  • Cervical cancer prevention
Cherry Liu, MD
  • Obstetric quality improvement programs
Yvonne Butler, MD
  • Maternal mortality reduction


4 Responses to UNC announces launch of Global Women’s Health division

  1. Pingback: UNC announces launch of Global Women's Health division | Institute … | Women For Health

  2. Pingback: Too many stories to tell: report from the International AIDS Conference | GH Notes | Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases

  3. Pingback: Centers, Institutes, and Labs UNC Research

  4. Three years ago we founded Agape Village Foundation and built an orphanage in Zambia. We live in Rocky Mount NC but have
    spent a lot of time in Zambia out in the bush. We would be interested in knowing more about your work in Zambia.
    Mickey Bailey
    Agape Village Foundation
    PO Box 7174
    Rocky Mount NC 27804 USA

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