Bryan Social Innovation Fellow Camille McGirtand works to address childhood obesity

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Carolina Public Health student spotlight

Camille McGirt ’13 spent the 2010–2011 academic year as an intern in Washington, D.C. “I met so many inspiring people [at the White House and on Capitol Hill],” she says. “I participated in several service projects and even helped with the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign.”

When McGirt returned to North Carolina, she was motivated to spread the “Let’s Move” message. She decided to implement a program in her community, Durham, N.C., to address childhood obesity. “Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled,” she says. “In North Carolina, the numbers are even more alarming.”

The program she started, “Healthy Girls Save the World,” promotes healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy relationships for girls ages 8 to 15 in North Carolina. The program provides information about exercise and nutrition and integrates lessons on self-esteem, good study habits, and the importance of respectful and positive relationships.

In November 2011, McGirt was awarded the Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship from UNC’s APPLES Service-Learning, a program that builds sustainable service learning partnerships. She will use the $1,500 prize to fund more workshops for young women.