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From left: UNC Lineberger’s Ronny Bell, PhD, MS; Michael Emanuele, PhD; and Seth Noar, PhD.

The Tar Heel Bus Tour rolled out of town Oct. 18 – 20 and UNC Lineberger members were among the more than 70 UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and senior administrators along for the ride on a trip to connect with North Carolinians across the state.

The Tar Heel Bus Tour, comprised of two buses, one traveling to the west and the other to the east, introduces faculty and staff to Carolina partnerships across the state. It also provides a chance for these communities to meet with UNC leaders to discuss ways to address collaborations.

“The Tar Heel Bus Tour was truly a transformative experience. It allowed me to experience the people and culture of our great state while connecting with colleagues from across our campus on the bus,” said Seth Noar, PhD, UNC Lineberger member and the Howard and McLean Parker Distinguished Professor at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. “It was inspiring to see how North Carolinians are overcoming the challenges of our time while thinking about how we can do even more as an institution to support our state.”

UNC Lineberger faculty members joined the western route bus, which first stopped at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer. Later, the team spent time at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in uptown Charlotte.

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North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC.
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Mural at the Gantt Center in Charlotte, NC.
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Two banjos on display at the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, NC.

The second day, the group met with the mayor of Canton to hear about life in Haywood County. The team also stopped at Polk County High School in Columbus to talk to potential next generation Tar Heels. The last location of the day took everyone to UNC Health’s Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, where they learned about challenges and solutions to patient care in rural areas of North Carolina.

“I really enjoyed my time on the Tar Heel Bus Tour, visiting some wonderful communities and learning about how they have overcome very difficult challenges and how UNC played a role in their revitalization efforts. I also enjoyed getting to know my UNC colleagues and admiring the beauty of our state,” added UNC Lineberger’s Ronny Bell, PhD, MS, Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor and chair of the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

The final day of the bus tour made a quick stop to the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby for banjo lessons before heading to the UNC Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis. The institute conducts innovative research in precision nutrition as well as studies investigating nutrition, metabolism, obesity and cancer.

“The bus tour was really inspiring,” said Michael Emanuele, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and UNC Lineberger member. “In addition to meeting faculty from across campus, our stops highlighting many of the amazing things done by groups and individuals around the state, often in collaboration with people at UNC. This includes deploying healthcare to individuals in rural areas, rebuilding communities impacting by loss of jobs, to educating leaders of tomorrow.”