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People Briefs

For immediate use

Oct. 11, 2007

Peterson elected to the Institute of Medicine

Dr. Herbert B. Peterson, professor and chair in the department of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health and professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the UNC School of Medicine, has been elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the organization announced this week.

UNC now has 20 active Institute members. New members are selected from candidates nominated for their professional achievement and commitment to service. Sixty-five new members and four foreign associates were chosen this year, bringing the IOM’s total active membership to 1,538.

“Recognition by the Institute of Medicine is one of the highest honors accorded to a scientist,” said Barbara K. Rimer, Dr.P.H., dean of the School of Public Health. “We are so pleased that Dr. Peterson has been recognized in this way for his exemplary contributions.”

Peterson is known nationally and internationally for his work in womens’ reproductive health, epidemiology, health policy, and evidence-based decision-making. Before he joined the School of Public Health faculty in 2004, he held various research and administrative positions with the World Health Organization, U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the course of 20 years. He also held joint professorships in the Schools of Medicine at UNC (1994-2004) and Emory University in Atlanta (1994-2002).

In addition to joint appointments in the Schools of Public Health and Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peterson is a fellow at the Cecil B. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC.

School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, (919) 966-7467 or

Academy of Arts and Sciences names Sehat visiting scholar

David Sehat, a recent doctoral graduate in history from UNC, has been named a visiting scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Sehat was among seven scholars selected nationwide to participate in the program, which supports the work of young public policy analysts, humanists and social scientists who show promise of becoming leaders in their fields.

Sehat’s project is called, “The American Moral Establishment: Religion in American Public Life.”

“I’m arguing in my project that the United States had a state-supported religion for much of its history,” Sehat said. “Protestant Christian moral ideals were enforced by U.S. law until the 1960s. When the moral establishment crumbled in the late ’60s, we began experiencing the religiously driven politics of the present. So I will be looking to the past to explain the politics of the present.”

Sehat will spend the 2007-08 academic year in residence at the academy in Cambridge, Mass. In addition to focusing on individual projects, visiting scholars will participate in ongoing activities at the academy and collaborate with academy fellows on shared research interests.

For information, visit

College of Arts & Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093 or
School of Medicine young faculty member wins national honor for aging research

Eleni Tzima, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell and molecular physiology in the UNC School of Medicine, has been named a 2007 Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar. The award provides $200,000 over four years in support of research on the role of blood flow in cardiovascular disease, primarily among the elderly.

The Ellison Foundation New Scholars award supports exceptional young faculty who are nominated by U.S. medical institutions and universities for their outstanding promise in aging research. Co-recruited with the Carolina Cardiovascular Biology Center, Tzima came to UNC in October 2005.

School of Medicine contact: Stephanie Crayton, (919) 966-2860 or

Alumna’s bequest puts UNC School of Nursing over Carolina First Campaign goal

UNC School of Nursing alumna Melissa Dixon LeVine and her husband Harry LeVine III recently made a $600,000 bequest to establish an endowed professorship that will promote healthy living.

The gift pushed the nursing school above its $15 million fundraising goal for the Carolina First Campaign, a comprehensive, multi-year, private fundraising campaign that has raised more than $2 billion to support Carolina’s vision of becoming the nation’s leading public university. The nursing school now has raised 103 percent of its goal. The LeVines also honored the memory of Harry’s mother as part of the campaign by designating a roof-top garden tile in her name for the new School of Nursing building addition.

The $600,000 bequest will fund the Melissa D. and Harry LeVine III Distinguished Professorship in Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness, cementing the LeVine’s legacy of promoting wellness and workplace health and wellbeing. Melissa, BSN ’77, MSN ’81, and Harry have long supported school programs that advance those goals.

“Through my nursing career and motherhood, I learned how important it is to pay attention to physical and emotional stress,” Melissa said. “I want Carolina to keep teaching those valuable lessons about good health to people who can pass them along to others.”
In addition to this bequest, in 2000 the LeVines established the LeVine Wellness Program to promote healthy lifestyle activities, including exercise and weight control, for the faculty and staff.

School of Nursing contact: Whitney Howell,, (919) 966-4619