Thomas Bacon

Thomas Bacon

Director, North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC)
Executive Associate Dean, School of Medicine
Professor, Department of Social Medicine
Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health

DrPH, Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Tom Bacon is Director of the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program and Executive Associate Dean in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, a position he has held since 1996.

He is the former Chair of the National AHEC Program Directors Constituency Group, and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Editorial Board for the National AHEC Bulletin.

Dr. Bacon grew up in Clearwater, Fla., and received his undergraduate degree from Eckerd College (which was then Florida Presbyterian College).  He has a master’s degree in demography from the University of Chicago and a Doctorate of Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Prior to becoming the NC AHEC Program Director, Dr. Bacon served as Director of the Mountain AHEC in Asheville, N.C., for 14 years.  During his time at Mountain AHEC, they expanded their family practice residency, added a rural track to the family practice program, and started a new residency program in obstetrics and gynecology.

Since assuming the position of N.C. AHEC Program Director in 1996, Dr. Bacon has led the program through a series of strategic plans in order to better target resources during a time of reduced state and federal budgets. In recent years N.C. AHEC has strengthened its diversity programs, developed a new statewide electronic library, and is now transforming its traditional continuing education efforts to a stronger focus on quality and patient safety.

Dr. Bacon has had a longstanding interest in health workforce policy, with a particular focus on the training, recruitment and retention of health professionals to serve rural and other underserved areas.   He is the former chair of the N.C. Council for Allied Health and was instrumental in creating a new statewide task force, with the N.C. Institute of Medicine, to study the physician workforce and to develop policy recommendations to address the growing shortages of both generalist and subspecialty physicians in the state.