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  string(1440) "“Prevention is superior to treatment,” said David Weber, M.D., M.P.H. Prevention of health care-acquired infections and vaccine development are David’s two main areas of research. “Vaccines are the classic way to keep people well and have saved more lives globally than any other intervention except access to clean water,” David says. “At UNC, healthcare workers are required to have four vaccines – mumps, measles and rubella; varicella or chicken pox; influenza; and pertussis. This keeps staff and patients safe and healthy.”

David is not surprised that a recent study showed medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. Preventing healthcare-associated infections is his life’s work.

David began his career at UNC in 1985. He holds a triple appointment - as a professor of medicine and pediatrics within the UNC School of Medicine and as a professor of epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. His ultimate professional goal is to eliminate all preventable health care-associated infections, and he looks to the men and women he has trained over the years to help him achieve this.

“The goal is to get to zero,” David says. “We can do this by controlling our environmental factors, developing vaccines against infections and continuing to train the next generation of infectious diseases epidemiologists.”

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Prevention is Superior to Treatment

Rita Bayraktar

A computer science major within the College of Arts & Sciences at Carolina, Rida Bayraktar ’23 has been advocating to level the playing field for women in STEM for years. 

“Before high school, I had the stereotype that STEM was something boys do,” said Bayraktar. “I don’t fit into that profile, so I didn’t even explore any STEM fields. I was good at math, but I didn’t know what I could do with that.”

Upon this realization, Bayraktar became determined to include girls in the STEM conversation and eventually founded Pink STREAM, an organization that works to educate, motivate, empower and inspire kindergarten through eighth-grade girls in science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and math. Over the past two years, Bayraktar and her team have led courses for more than 900 girls on STEM-related topics, thanks to hard work and financial support from the Carolina community and the Robert E. Bryan Fellowship

Even with the limitations of the pandemic, Bayraktar is able to continue inspiring and educating young girls through an online platform.

“What I aim to accomplish as a woman in computer sciences is to be a role model, especially for marginalized women,” Bayraktar said. “We need to change people’s ideas of what it looks like to be a computer scientist, and I want to be someone that does that.

Read the complete Carolina Story…