BCBSNC Foundation Invests $1 Million in State's Public Health Future
Chapel Hill, N.C. - The Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBSNC) Foundation today announced a gift of $1 million to support the scientific, educational and practice-based initiatives of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health, the nation's top public school of public health and North Carolina's only such school.
The BCBSNC Foundation's gift to the UNC School of Public Health will be awarded over four years and will go directly to help build the School's new 125,000-square foot, state-of-the-art research center to house programs in environmental health, epidemiology and nutrition. With its laboratories and the BCBSNC Foundation auditorium as focal points, the building will be a center for unparalleled discovery and world-class teaching in public health. The School plans to break ground for its new facility, which will adjoin the School's existing Rosenau and McGavran-Greenberg halls on south campus, this summer.
"In recent months, Americans have become more aware than ever of the essential role public health plays in our society," BCBSNC President and CEO Bob Greczyn said. "Meaningful partnerships between public and private entities are our most realistic hope for ensuring a healthy future for the people of North Carolina."
Greczyn added that the UNC School of Public Health's commitment to protecting against threats to health, empowering people to lead healthy lives, improving the quality of health services and preparing leaders to advance health are directly complementary to the BCBSNC Foundation's mission.
The new research center will enhance the School's ability to conduct innovative research and engage in world-class education in the critical areas of environmental health, epidemiology and nutrition that must be addressed. These include:
- Understanding the effect of diet and physical activity on disease prevention in minority populations, children, adolescents and the elderly;
- Preventing the spread of tuberculosis, HIV and other infectious diseases;
- Identifying harmful exposures and ensuring safe and clean water, soil and air; and
- Determining the relationship between genes and the environment, and their impact on the risk of breast cancer and other diseases.
The BCBSNC Foundation's gift to the UNC School of Public Health will also benefit the school by:
- providing safe and modern laboratories for students and faculty;
- meeting the space needs of departments whose programs have changed to meet the challenges of the 21st century; and
- consolidating faculty and programs into unified space, drawing diverse people together to exchange of ideas.
"This generous investment in our School strengthens a longstanding relationship between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Carolina's School of Public Health while launching a new partnership with the BCBSNC Foundation," said the School's dean, Dr. Bill Roper. "The BCBSNC Foundation Auditorium will serve as a cornerstone for educating new generations of public health leaders, a physical symbol of the missions and joined commitment of these three distinct organizations in ensuring a healthy future for all North Carolinians."
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is a separate, independent, nonprofit Foundation dedicated to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. The Foundation's focus areas include: Health of Vulnerable Populations - improving health outcomes of populations served by safety net organizations; Healthy Active Communities - increasing physical activity and encouraging healthy eating habits; and Community Impact through Nonprofit Excellence - increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. BCBSNC Foundation invests programs and services in response to grant requests and proactively creates initiatives or partners with organizations to address specific needs. It also coordinates several Signature Programs, among them, the Be Active Kids® and Healthy Community Institute for Nonprofit Excellence. More information is available at www.bcbsncfoundation.org.