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Patricia F Waller

Friends and colleagues of Dr Patricia F Waller have established an endowment in the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) to honor her as the center’s founding director. Waller died on 15 August 2003 after a long illness.

“Dr Waller exemplified the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration and was a critical thinker whose ideas were often ahead of their time”, said Dr Carol Runyan, current IPRC director and a collaborator with Waller in the early years of forming the center. “Our hope is to attract other scholars to campus who share these attributes so we can continue to celebrate the vitality and importance of her ideas and continue to innovate”.

The Patricia F Waller Endowment Fund will be used to support an annual lecture in her honor to be overseen jointly by the IPRC, the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, the department of psychology, and members of the Waller family. Additional gifts will accrue in the hope that the fund will support a professorship in the field of injury control, officials said.

The IPRC is a multidisciplinary federally funded center founded in 1987 and bringing together faculty experts from numerous other schools and departments at UNC.

“An endowed professorship would not only be a significant tribute, but would ensure that there is a lasting presence at UNC for injury control, the focus of Waller’s career”, said Runyan, who also is professor of health behavior and health education in UNC’s School of Public Health.

“In the shorter term, with the lectureship, we expect that we will sustain her enthusiasm for scholarship in this field in a very tangible way, encouraging students and faculty from diverse fields to think about this huge social problem together and find solutions that will save lives and reduce suffering—just as Pat did during her lifetime”, she added.

Waller received her doctorate in psychology from UNC and worked for nearly two decades as a researcher with the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. She launched the IPRC with a vision that merged her background in traffic safety with public health perspectives on injury control. She later served as director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institution and professor of public health policy and administration. She retired to Chapel Hill in 1999.

Gifts to the Patricia F Waller Endowment Fund can be made in care of UNC’s Office of University Development, PO Box 309, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Contact Carol Runyan at +1 919 966 2251, carol_runyan{at} or Karen Demby +1 919 843 3530, karen_demby{at}—Chrys Bullard, Office of University Development.

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