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.
Dr. Bacon holds faculty appointments in the Department of Social Medicine in the School of Medicine and in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the School of Public Health. He is also a Senior Fellow at Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research.
Dr. Bacon grew up in Clearwater, Fla., and received his undergraduate degree from Eckerd 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. Under his leadership, Mountain AHEC 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 NC AHEC Program Director in 1996, Dr. Bacon has targeted AHEC resources to strengthen its core programs and invest in areas of high priority need for a rapidly changing health care environment. AHEC has invested in new technologies to expand access to health information and educational programs for students and health professionals. It has strengthened its diversity programs and invested in efforts to recruit more underrepresented students into health careers. Finally, NC AHEC has developed a major new focus on quality and patient safety.
Dr. Bacon has a long standing interest in health workforce research and policy, with a particular focus on the training, recruitment and retention of health professionals to serve rural and other underserved populations. He serves as the chair of the Board of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and is a member of the Trustee Advisory Council of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. He is also active in the National AHEC Organization and previously served as chair of the National AHEC Program Directors Constituency Group and as chair of the Editorial Board of the National AHEC Journal.