UNC Social Medicine

The Department of Social Medicine is an academic unit within the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill committed to the promotion and provision of multidisciplinary education, leadership, service, research, and scholarship at the intersection of medicine and society.  This includes focus on the social conditions and characteristics of patients and populations; causes of illness and contexts of medical care; the ethical and social contexts of biomedical clinical and research professionals and institutions; and questions of allocation, organization and financing of health resources including health law and policy.

Faculty from clinical medicine, public health, the social sciences, and the humanities collaborate to teach core curriculum to medical students, develop innovative research and scholarly endeavors, and connect the School of Medicine with the wider University campus.  Through our teaching, research, and service we address social dimensions of health and health care in North Carolina and around the globe.

Three affiliated interdisciplinary research centers deepen and expand the Department’s focus in bioethics, health disparities, and ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics:  The Center for Bioethics, the Center for Health Equity Research, and the Center for Genomics and Society.  Social Medicine is a bridge between medicine and public health, public policy, law, the arts and humanities, social sciences disciplines, and communities across the state.

Chair's Welcome »

In Memoriam

Glenn Wilson.jpegGlenn Wilson, founding chair of the UNC Department of Social Medicine and important voice for improving access to medical care in North Carolina, died on July 17, 2014.  He served as the director of the North Carolina AHEC Program from 1972 to 1977.  Wilson assembled the team of faculty to write the initial federal AHEC grant, and was successful in receiving one of the initial 11 AHEC awards in 1971.  At that time, the AHEC grant was the largest federal grant ever received by UNC-Chapel Hill.  Wilson worked in close collaboration with hospital and other community health leaders at the initial AHEC sites to develop university-community partnerships which remain fundamental to the success of the AHEC Program in North Carolina.  In 1974 he successfully led the effort to obtain permanent funding for AHEC, which supported expansion to a statewide program with nine centers and built the AHEC facilities across the state.  After leading the AHEC Program through its formative stage in the 1970’s, Glenn Wilson stepped down as AHEC Program Director to become the founding chair of the Department of Social and Administrative Medicine, now the Department of Social Medicine, in the UNC School of Medicine. Read more about Glenn Wilson's life »