Seventeen years after becoming the dean of the Gillings School of Global Public Health, Barbara Rimer is stepping down from her role on June 30, 2022.
But Rimer is not saying farewell to UNC. She will remain on the Gillings faculty, where she began her career in 1992.
Rimer’s impact reaches far beyond academics. Her continuous support of faculty and students is widely recognized by those around her.
Andrew Olshan — chairperson of the Gillings epidemiology department from 2006 to 2018 — said he worked alongside Rimer on broad initiatives, including curriculum issues and funding.
Throughout her time at UNC. Olshan said that Rimer worked tirelessly to hire renowned faculty, admit extraordinary students and assist staff in award-winning work.
“With Barbara as its leader, Gillings was ranked the No. 1 public school of public health and tied for second overall three consecutive times by U.S. News & World Report, pulling ahead to stand alone in second place in 2021,” Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a statement.
Guskiewicz also said that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rimer amplified fact-based health communications, supported the expansion of the school’s student emergency relief fund and aided in the creation of virtual support pods.
Gillings underwent many structural changes under Rimer, Olshan said. The master of public health degree was overhauled to make it more interdisciplinary and efficient in an effort to attract more students to the school.
Rimer also helped to increase fundraising, which enhanced education and opportunities. Specifically, a gift from the Gillings family enabled the Department of Epidemiology to recruit top researchers and mentors in the country.