Nikhil Rao, who is working toward a Bachelor of Science in health policy and management (HPM), led a student team that won a prestigious COVID-19 Policy Hackathon organized by the Stanford Economics Association, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Undergraduate Economics Association and the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students. Their proposal called for the NC Department of Public Safety and Department of Health and Human Services to intervene to alleviate COVID-19 burden on one of the state’s most vulnerable populations.

A team of doctoral and graduate students – including epidemiology doctoral students Mekhala Dissanayake and Erica Zeno, and health behavior master’s students Kathryn Carpenter and Emily Newman – won first place in the North Carolina Well-Being Data Analysis Competition. The virtual competition included 116 students across 29 academic disciplines and was designed to drive local insights around well-being in N.C.

Katherine LeMasters, an epidemiology doctoral student, received an Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for her work on the partnership-driven research project “MI-PHOTOS: Mothers Informing Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Outcomes Through Story Sharing.” The award honors individuals and campus units for public service through engaged teaching, research and partnership.

Four Master of Public Health (MPH) students won awards for product innovations developed in response to current health care challenges as part of the fifth cohort of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s E(I) Lab program. The winning team, LiRA, worked on a project to restore voice to aphonic patients through the development of lip-reading technology. The four teams, including the Gillings students, were:

First Place: LiRA, with Nga Nguyen, dual MPH and Medical Doctorate (MD) student

Second Place: IM Fearless, with Elyse Miller, MPH student in applied epidemiology

Third Place: Medicare Fair, with Chelsea Leversedge, MPH student in global health

Fourth Place: OTC Buddy, with Brandy Sullivan, MPH student in public health leadership

Nine of the 17 Impact and Horizon awards bestowed by the UNC Graduate School for 2020 were given to students or recent graduates of Gillings. Gillings School honorees include Liz Chen and Elizabeth Davidson (heath behavior), Stacey L. Klaman (maternal and child health), Kathleen Knocke (health policy and management), Nicholas Lenze (population health for clinicians), Libby McClure and Asher Schranz (epidemiology), Jessica Soldavini (nutrition) and Kirsten Studer (environmental sciences and engineering).

Lenze received one of six Horizon Awards, and the others received eight of the 11 Impact Awards. The awards recognize student research that benefits the people of N.C.

Daniel Malawsky, a recent biostatistics graduate, will attend the University of Cambridge and pursue a doctoral degree in genomic science