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For immediate use

Jan. 7, 2003 -- No. 7

Photo note: To download a photo of Rimer, see end of release.

Nationally recognized cancer researcher joins public health faculty, cancer center leadership

CHAPEL HILL -- Dr. Barbara Rimer, former director of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute, has joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillís School of Public Health and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Rimer serves as a professor of health behavior and health education in the School of Public Health and as deputy director for population sciences at the Lineberger center. Her appointments were effective Jan. 1.

"The appointment of Barbara Rimer brings a great addition to the school and the university," said Dr. Bill Roper, dean of the School of Public Health. "She is a dedicated researcher and an outstanding person, and we are pleased to have her join our team."
Rimer has worked extensively in cancer research, community medicine and behavioral research. For the past five years, she directed the National Cancer Instituteís Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, which now includes about 160 people, a total budget of about $450 million and a division-controlled budget of about $120 million. The division currently funds about 700 extramural grants, a growth of about 25 percent during Rimerís tenure as division director.

"Barbara Rimer is one of the nationís leaders in cancer prevention and control and health communication," said Dr. Shelley Earp, director of the Lineberger center. "A primary focus of her position will be integration across the centerís clinical, prevention and epidemiology efforts. Her superb research and administrative talents will measurably strengthen our ability to translate discoveries into the community and serve North Carolina."
Rimer said she chose UNC for many reasons, but especially because the university "has the right mix of people and resources to be a fertile ground for taking health communications to a new level and for creating a program that is number one."

In her new role, Rimer said she plans to build a new program in the department of health behavior and health education that will represent a collaboration among the universityís College of Arts and Sciences and schools of information and library science, journalism and mass communication, public health and medicine, as well as the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

The new program will work on many health communications issues, including cancer control, patient advocacy, health disparities, helping patients make informed decisions about health care, and health and the Internet.

"We are pleased to have attracted someone of Barbaraís stature," said Dr. Jo Anne Earp, chair of the department of health behavior and health education and a member of the Lineberger center. "It was a difficult decision for her to leave what is arguably the most important administrative job for a behavioral scientist at the National Institutes of Health."
Before joining the National Cancer Institute, Rimer was the director of cancer prevention, detection and control research for the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as professor of community and family medicine. Rimer also was adjunct professor in the academic department where she now works full time.

She has been an author on 185 peer-reviewed publications and 61 invited papers, book chapters and other publications. She is co-editor of one of the most widely used public health texts and also has been principal investigator for a significant number of grants, including large projects in cancer prevention and control. Rimer has won many awards and honors including two in 2000: the American Cancer Society Distinguished Service Award and the National Institute of Health Directorís Award.

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: Contact Rimer at

School of Public Health contact: Lisa Katz, (919) 966-7467 or
Lineberger center contact: Dianne Shaw, (919) 966-5905 or