Relevance Rediscovered

At 49, Greg Michie gave it all up. His tenure-track position. His flexible schedule. His unhurried lunch hour. (His lunch hour, period.) In 2012, as a citywide teacher’s strike loomed, Michie left the relative comforts of higher education. He returned to the undervalued but indispensable work of public school teaching in America.

Shades of Gray

Jake Lawler came to UNC in 2017 with a football scholarship, a passion for movies and a talent for writing. A longtime foe followed him there, one that he had known since middle school — when he wore crooked glasses and ill-fitting clothes and was teased for being a mixed-race kid.

Compassion as an Action Verb

"How do we institutionalize compassion? If we are all products of our systems, how do we make these systems compassionate? Imagine police departments whose main focus is caring for the community, is compassion. What if, from the very beginning, compassion is the anchor for all our social institutions?"

Weaponized Cells: A Sobering Message About the Virus

Lung researcher Dr. Camille Ehre felt like she was flying a drone over a dense forest, looking for poisonous apples on the ground or in the swaying trees. For more than a month, she piloted her powerful microscope over an area 12 millimeters in diameter populated by cells from the lungs’ airways. Zooming in and out, she hunted between and below their hairlike protrusions for the infectious, spiky orbs of COVID-19.

The Smoke You’ve Been Missing

“When I realized how bad e-cigarette use was in the high schools, I thought, ‘If I don’t do this, who will?’ ” said Ilona Jaspers, who also directs the toxicology curriculum at UNC and is the mother of a junior and a senior at Chapel Hill High School. “If I don’t go out and talk to people and educate them about it and find a way to communicate with them, who will?”

CAR-T is still largely experimental — a futuristic, staggering, frustrating therapy that sometimes works and sometimes does not. (Roger Harris/Science Photo Library)

To Build a Cure

They’re the most promising cancer assassins to come along in your lifetime, but their mission is far from complete. CAR-T is still largely experimental — a futuristic, staggering, frustrating therapy that sometimes works and sometimes does not.

The Guiding Light

Cancer can magnify the darkness and light we all walk around with — the electricity that fuels a good day with our kids, and the bottom floor of our souls where we struggle with all that we are and all that we could be. The forces are always competing. But the crazy, beautiful thing about Sam Anthony is that he finds a way to let the light win.

Mountains, Still

The clinic the team services sits in a municipality that was once a residential area for garment workers. But a perfect storm of policies and actions from both within and outside Haiti in the 1980s and ’90s — including a U.S.-led economic boycott following the overthrow of democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991 — helped transform it into a shantytown of 500,000 instead. It never recovered, and Cite Soleil now is the poorest community in the Western Hemisphere. Its images are unimaginable: Near a dump, children sleep atop mountains of plastic bottles.

Setting a Place at the Table for Grief

Only when Lennon Flowers could not lift her own broken body out of bed did she begin to feel the tidal wave of grief.

She had been going full speed at life for more than four years, becoming skilled at placing its disparate realities into their own tidy boxes: her packed Carolina schedule double majoring in international studies and political science in one; and in the other, her mother’s lengthy battle with lung cancer, with its treatments and questions and that word — terminal. The key to surviving it all was never to slow down, never to mix the boxes. Keep going, just keep going.

First, Do No Harm

For Dr. Tim Ives, who worked in a Utah methadone clinic during his pharmacy residency in the early 1980s, the OxyContin era is the latest in an endless cycle of drug epidemics in the U.S.

“It’s pharmaceutical Whac-A-Mole,” Ives said. “Nothing’s changed. It’s just the products have changed. We’re getting better at measuring [drug abuse]. Now we’ve got to start getting better at treatment — and treatment is not a drug. It’s mental health. People are still out there who have a medical condition, and the condition is substance dependence.”

How to Mend a Sole

She was preparing to leave a remote Liberian village last June when a boy named Henroy appeared. He was barefoot and thin, wearing a soccer jersey and an expression too broken for a face that was only 9 years old. Someone had sent for him so that Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld could see his condition, but walking across the muddy earth from the road was a terrible balancing act. How could it not be? Henroy’s left foot twisted inward and upward. The sole of his foot faced the sky.

Look, Mom, No Cavities!

Free candy was everywhere Dr. Sindhura Citineni ’04 looked during her pediatric dental residency in New York, and it was all the good stuff that populates the best Halloween treat bags — the satisfying Snickers, the rich Reese’s Cup, the trusty Twix.

A Brilliant Impatience

When she told a career counselor at Dartmouth that she planned to apply to medical school, the adviser told her she was wasting her time.

Etta Pisano applied anyway and was accepted to many, though not all, medical schools, choosing to go to Duke. And because she had LSAT scores to salivate over, she also applied to law schools. She got into every one of them, including Harvard.

“The adviser may have been trying to be kind to me, sparing me the effort of applying,” she says. “But I never believed it, not for one second. I just remember thinking:What does he know? And it’s not because I had such great self-confidence.

It’s just that I thought the person was wrong.”