The program takes advantage of unique and considerable institutional strengths in epidemiology and digestive disease research. A diverse, experienced, multidisciplinary faculty has been assembled to provide trainees with expert guidance in epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, outcomes research and nutrition. We welcome minority applicants. Applicants with advanced training may also be considered.
The purpose of the program is to train independent researchers who will be able to compete successfully for grant support. The program includes one predoctoral and three postdoctoral candidates. The predoctoral candidate is chosen in conjunction with the UNC Department of Epidemiology. Postdoctoral candidates complete clinical training in adult or pediatric gastroenterology either prior to or subsequent to participation in the training program. The program includes a comprehensive curriculum with the following features:
- Advanced training in epidemiologic methods and biostatistics
- A two-to-three-year period of training culminating in an MPH or PhD in epidemiology
- Emphasis on design, execution, analysis and publication of a research project
- A research preceptor to guide the developing investigator
- Training that would permit fellows to link classical epidemiologic methods with contemporary molecular and cellular biology (biomolecular epidemiology)
Potential areas of research include all areas of digestive diseases and nutrition. We have special strengths in the areas of chronic disease and cancer epidemiology, clinical epidemiology, health policy, economics and outcomes research. In addition to formal course work in the School of Public Health, additional campus resources include our NIH-funded Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, the Sheps Center for Health Services Research, and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Research Center. Limited clinical activities are permitted during the research fellowship years.
The following faculty members are based in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Each has advanced training in epidemiology and board certification in gastroenterology and serves as part of the primary training faculty. Trainees may elect other members of the medical school and public health school faculty to serve as their preceptors.
Jon A. Baron, M.D.
Dr. Baron is Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. An internist by clinical training, he also has graduate degrees in Epidemiology and Mathematical Statistics. His research has focused on the epidemiology and prevention of cancer, especially colorectal cancer. He is the leader of the Polyp Prevention Study Group, which has conducted important trials regarding the prevention of colorectal adenomas.
A. Sidney Barritt IV, M.D., M.S.C.R
Dr. Barritt trained in medicine at the University of Virginia, then completed training programs in advanced hepatology/liver transplant, gastroenterology and epidemiology at UNC. He joined our faculty in 2010, and has a clinical and research interest in liver disease and transplantation.
Seth D. Crockett, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Crockett graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, and medical school at Dartmouth. He completed his internal medicine residency at Stanford University where he also served as Chief Resident. Seth was in the clinical epidemiology track in the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at UNC and earned his Master's degree in Public Health, after which he joined our faculty. His primary area of interest is colorectal cancer prevention.
Evan S. Dellon, M.D., M.P.H
Dr. Dellon trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, then completed training programs in gastroenterology and epidemiology at UNC. He joined our faculty in 2008, and has a clinical and research interest in esophageal diseases and, in particular, eosinophilic esophagitis (diagnosis, pathogenesis, biomarkers, and treatment). He is also interested in advanced endoscopic techniques and endoscopic outcomes research.
Spencer D. Dorn, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Dorn completed training in digestive disease epidemiology and clinical gastroenterology at UNC. He is most interested in health services (including care delivery, outcomes, and policy) for chronic digestive diseases, especially functional GI disorders.
Paul "Skip" Hideyo Hayashi, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Hayashi completed his gastroenterology training at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. He received advanced training in hepatology at the University of Colorado and the Liver Diseases Section at the National Institutes of Health. He received his Masters in Public Health at Saint Louis University, then joined UNC faculty in 2006 as Medical Director of Liver Transplantation. His areas of interest include liver transplant outcomes, organ utilization, liver cancer and pharmacoepidemiology of drug hepatotoxicity.
Michael D. Kappelman, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Kappelman completed training in pediatric gastroenterology, epidemiology, and health services research at Harvard University, and joined UNC faculty in 2007. He is interested in inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis). His research has focussed on epidemiology (including pharmacoepidemiology) and health services (cost, utilization, and quality) in pediatric and adult IBD.
Millie D. Long, M.D. M.P.H
Dr. Long trained in medicine at the University of Virginia, then completed training programs in preventive medicine, gastroenterology and epidemiology at UNC. She joined our faculty in 2010, and has a clinical and research interest in inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis.
David F. Ransohoff, M.D.
Dr. Ransohoff's main interest is clinical research methods. Major topics of current research include colon cancer screening (efficacy of intervention; identification of high- and low-risk groups) and management of gallstone disease. His primary clinical interests include biliary tract disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and risk of colon cancer. Dr. Ransohoff is former director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar's program.
Robert S. Sandler, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Sandler's current research concerns the epidemiology of precursors of colon cancer. He has completed a number of NIH-funded studies of risk factors for adenomas of the colon, concentrating on dietary and lifestyle factors as well as risk factors for mucosal proliferation and apoptosis. He is involved in chemoprevention clinical trials, testing whether aspirin or Cox-2 inhibitors can prevent adenomas of the colon. He is currently conducting a population-based study of large bowel cancer in a 33-county area of North Carolina. The study obtains extensive exposure and lifestyle information as well as blood and tumor blocks. Dr. Sandler has a general interest in the epidemiology of chronic digestive disorders, especially inflammatory bowel disease. Past studies have concerned inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, gallstones, gastric cancer, and screening for colon cancer. Dr. Sandler is also interested in outcomes research in the field of gastroenterology.
Nicholas J. Shaheen, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Shaheen completed the training program in digestive disease epidemiology at UNC and joined our faculty in 1998. He has special interests in esophageal diseases and hemochromatosis, and is especially interested in the implications of a diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus. Dr. Shaheen is also interested in the outcome and utility of various endoscopic procedures.
Steven L. Zacks, M.D., M.P.H., F.R.C.P.C.
Dr. Zacks is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previously, he completed a Masters in Public Health at UNC in Epidemiology with an emphasis on clinical research training. Dr. Zacks has experience in clinical trials of novel agents for hepatitis B and C, encephalopathy, ascites, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). He has participated in NIH-sponsored studies of NAFLD, viral hepatitis, and pulmonary complications of cirrhosis, and has served as a grant reviewer on NIH study sections. Dr. Zacks has won two teaching awards from the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and one from the Department of Medicine.
Stipends, Insurance, Tuition, Fees, Travel, Research Expenses
The training program is funded by an Institutional National Research Service Award from the NIH. As such, the program abides by the rules established for these awards.
Stipends are established by the NIH. The current annual stipend for postdoctoral trainees is determined by the number of FULL years of relevant postdoctoral experience at the time of appointment. Relevant experience may include research experience (including industrial), teaching, internship, residency, clinical duties, or other time spent in full-time studies in a health-related field following the date of the qualifying doctoral degree.
The training grant covers the cost of health insurance, malpractice insurance (if relevant), full-time tuition in the School of Public Health, travel to one national meeting each year ($1000), textbooks and approximately $2000 per year in discretionary research funds. Trainees are provided with an office equipped with a personal computer and printer. Because out-of-state tuition is costly, we prefer that out-of-state fellows do clinical work first, followed by MPH training, by which time they will have lived in NC long enough to qualify for in-state tuition.
As part of the general MD fellowship program through the Match, our epidemiology track is equivalent to the ‘clinical outcomes’ option.
Summary of Requirements for the Master's Programs in the Department of Epidemiology
The School of Public Health has some general requirements for the MPH and MSPH degrees. A minimum of thirty hours is required, although most Master’s students find it necessary to take more. Requirements for a Ph.D. are the same with the addition of a dissertation.
Please note that the Department of Epidemiology has instituted a new program geared for MD clinicians, “Master of Science in Clinical Research” (MSCR). Given its practicality in relation to direct clinical research as opposed to the more traditional or conservative methods, this program is highly recommended for our clinical epidemiology fellows.
Specific details about the requirements of these programs can be found on the Department of Epidemiology Web site at http://www.sph.unc.edu/epid/.
In the past, some fellows have also taken advantage of the Public Health Leadership Program. Information regarding this program can be found at http://www.sph.unc.edu/phlp/.