UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
UNC School of Public Health.jpg
Former names The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) School of Public Health
Established 1936 (1936)
Type Graduate school
School of Public Health
Parent institution University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United StatesCoordinates: 35°54′21″N 79°03′15″W / 35.9058°N 79.0541°W / 35.9058; -79.0541
Dean Barbara Rimer
Academic staff 547
Students 1,545
Doctoral students 535
Alumni 10,045
Website sph.unc.edu

The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, formerly known as The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) School of Public Health, holds a unique position among the top-tiered public health schools in the United States. As part of a highly regarded state university system, the Gillings School is rooted in the strengths and needs of North Carolina’s mostly rural communities, yet has significant global reach and impact.

Through research and programs based around the world, and both residential and online training of international students as future public health leaders, the Gillings School has focused on the interconnections of global and local health. Discovering local solutions and applying them globally – and vice versa – is at the heart of the School’s research, teaching and service. Accelerating those solutions – transforming them more quickly from the academy to the community – is central to the School’s mission.

The UNC Gillings School has been ranked the top public school of public health by U.S. News & World Report since the magazine began its evaluations. The School has remained consistently in the top three of all public health schools. Most recently, the 2016 edition of U.S. News & World Report graduate school rankings listed the school as tied at second place overall, after the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and tied with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.[1] Several of the school's departments and programs have been recognized as among the best in the country.

The Gillings School of Global Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and offers undergraduate and graduate programs both in traditional classrooms on the Chapel Hill campus and online. It is named for donors Joan Gillings and Dennis Gillings, a former UNC professor and the founder of Quintiles.


The UNC Division of Public Health was organized in 1936 within the UNC School of Medicine. Separate status as a school of public health was granted in 1939, making the School the first school of public health established within a state university.[2] [3] The school awarded its first graduate degrees in 1940. [4]

Milton Rosenau, often called the “Father of Epidemiology,” who had recently retired as dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, became the first director of the Division of Public Health in 1936 and served as the first dean of the School from 1939 to 1946.

In 1949, both the UNC School of Dentistry and UNC School of Nursing were added. Along with the Schools of Public Health, Medicine and Pharmacy, the five schools formally became the University's Division of Health Affairs. The Gillings School is one of only a few public health schools in the U.S. to be located on a single campus with four other health-profession schools. Dreaming of a Time, a published history of the first 50 years of the School, is available online.

Through the years, the School has grown into a collection of seven different departments and a Public Health Leadership Program. The Departments of Epidemiology, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Health Policy and Administration (now Health Policy and Management) and Public Health Nursing (now the Public Health Leadership Program) were in place when the school was founded. The Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (now Health Behavior) was added in 1942, Nutrition in 1946, Biostatistics in 1949 and Maternal and Child Health in 1950. The Gillings School’s Department of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) is thought to be the only such department within a public health school in the country.

Seven deans have led the School, from Rosenau to Edward G. McGavran, MD (1947-1963); Fred Mayes, MD (1963-1972); Bernard Greenberg, PhD (1972-1982); Michel Ibrahim, MD, PhD (1982-1996); William L. Roper, MD, MPH (1997-2004); and Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH (2005 to present).

In 2007, the School received a pledge of $50 million from Dennis Gillings and Joan Gillings to fund:

  • Innovation Laboratories, intended to focus concentrated, interdisciplinary efforts to solve public health problems;
  • Visiting professorships and executives-in-residence to facilitate leadership development for faculty and for leaders from other institutions;
  • Student support to develop the next generation of public health leaders; and
  • Strategic investments such as the Water Institute at UNC.

The Gillings School of Global Public Health continues to award doctoral, masters and undergraduate degrees and certificates to students who take courses on campus in Chapel Hill or via the internet as digital learners.

Academic Departments[edit]

The UNC Gillings School has eight academic units (seven departments and one program) that offer masters and doctoral degrees with specialized training in a variety of research areas. Four (marked here with asterisks) also award undergraduate degrees.

Primary research areas and degree programs of specific departments:

Bayesian Methodology
Categorical Data Analysis
Clinical Trials
Empirical Processes
Generalized Linear Models
Longitudinal or Dependent Data
Medical Imaging
Missing or Mismeasured Data
Semiparametric or Nonparametric Methodology
Statistical Genetics and Computational Biology
Survey Sampling
Survival Analysis
Air Quality & Atmospheric Processes
Human Exposure & Health Effects
Sustainable Water Resources
  • Epidemiology: Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR), MPH, MSPH-PhD, PhD
Infectious Diseases
Adolescent Health
Cancer Prevention
Diabetes Management
Eating Disorders
Health Communication
Injury and Violence Prevention
Medical Decision-Making
Mental Health
Minority Health and Health Disparities
Obesity, Diet, and Physical Activity
Sexual Health
Substance Abuse
Worksite Health and Safety
Cancer Care
Comparative Effectiveness
Financial Management and Performance
Health Outcomes
Organization Design and Change
Quality of and Access to Care
Reproductive Health and Women’s Health
Infant, Child, and Adolescent Health
Health Inequities and Health Economics
Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Syndrome
Health Behavior
Immune Function and Infectious Disease
Maternal and Child Nutrition

Degree tracks offered by leadership program:

Global Health
Health Care and Prevention
Occupational Health Nursing

Centers and Institutes[edit]

In addition to academic departments, several centers and institutes operate within the School, providing additional contributions to public health research and practice. The School's service and outreach arm, the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, brings public health scholarship and practice communities together across the state. Research and Innovation Solutions, a unit funded by a $50 million gift from Dennis Gillings and Joan Gillings,[5] enables the School to anticipate new public health challenges, quickly find solutions and accelerate the delivery of best practices to improve people’s lives. The Gillings Global Gateway™ advances the School’s global health activities in research, service and teaching through partnerships, internships, outreach and communications.

The School also collaborates with many external centers and institutes specializing in health care research and practice and works with other schools within and beyond UNC. Among these are the Carolina Population Center, the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and the Injury Prevention Research Center, all of whose directors are faculty members at the Gillings School.

Centers affiliated with the school include:


  1. ^ "Best Public Health Programs | Top Public Health Schools | US News Best Graduate Schools". grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2016-08-03. 
  2. ^ Korstad, Robert Rodgers (1990). Dreaming of a time: the School of Public Health: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1939-1989. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina. 
  3. ^ "The University of North Carolina Record | Division of Public Health of the School of Medicine | 1936". digitalnc.org/. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  4. ^ "School History". sph.unc.edu/resource-pages/about-the-school/. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  5. ^ Carolina First Campaign exceeds $2 billion goal early with $50 million gift from Dennis and Joan Gillings, UNC News Services, Feb. 21, 2007.

External links[edit]