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Preventive Medicine Residents at a field trip to Blue Cross Blue Shield

Applicants will have completed at least one year of clinical medicine training following medical school.  At UNC, most applicants have completed a residency in a primary care specialty, such as general internal medicine or family medicine.

Program Components

The two-year residency program consists of an academic year and a practicum year.


  • Masters degree in public health: includes coursework in epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, and health care management (MPH degree program must be in-person, not online)
  • Research project: residents design and implement a research project in their area of interest, which should culminate in publishable work
  • Clinical: individual patient care in a variety of settings including primary care and behavioral medicine


  • Public health agency rotation: eight weeks of practical experience at the local, state, or federal level
  • Healthcare management and administration rotation: allows residents to engage in quality improvement project
  • Clinical: individual patient care in a variety of settings including primary care and behavioral medicine
  • Medical student teaching: co-teaching in clinical epidemiology for 2nd year medical students
  • Electives in a wide variety of population health practice settings
The Preventive Medicine Seminar Series spans both years of training and covers a wide range of topics in preventive medicine.  Faculty from the Schools of Medicine and Public Health, as well as professionals from outside the UNC Campus, are actively engaged in teaching residents.


Each resident must complete a Master’s in Public Health (or equivalent) degree in an accredited School of Public Health or department within a medical school. The MPH may be completed in any of the on-campus academic units of the UNC School of Public Health, so long as degree requirements do not significantly impinge upon completion of other Residency requirements.  Residents must take required courses in epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, health services management and administration, and the behavioral aspects of health. Through the MPH or other didactic experiences, residents must also complete training in applied epidemiology, advanced biostatistics, advanced health services management, clinical preventive services, and risk/hazard control and communication.

The Preventive Medicine Residency Program offers a 9-month long series of seminars on a wide variety of preventive medicine topics each year. The series begins in late August/early September and concludes in early June.

Speakers include PMR faculty, faculty in the Schools of Medicine (Department of Social Medicine as well as other Departments) and Public Health, preventive medicine professionals in the NC Division of Public Health and other rotation sites, and other experts on public health issues.

Periodically, residents will lead journal clubs and present works-in-progress for feedback from residents and faculty.  Every other year in May a trip to the state legislature is planned, including visits to legislators, committee hearings, and the general assembly.

Completion of one or more major research projects is a goal for every resident. Residents will apply the methodologic skills learned in the coursework to a public health area of interest. Residents may conduct independent research or work with a PMR faculty member, advisor or other faculty member on existing projects.

 Each resident must spend at least 2 months working in a public health agency at the local, state, or federal level; residents are encouraged to conduct rotations in at least 2 of these levels. The state health department has a number of branches and divisions in which residents may pursue activities of their interest. Residents may also set up rotations in federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, or others. These rotations may be done in a block period of time or spread out over a longer time period.

Each resident will complete at least one project using quality improvement and management information system strategies to fulfill one of the public health/general preventive medicine competencies.

Residents are required to spend 2 months each year in a clinical setting conducting individual and population-based care.  These clinical activities may take place at UNC Hospitals or at other clinical sites.   If working within UNC Hospitals, the resident must function as housestaff and may not be classified as medical staff.  In addition to primary care sites within and outside UNC, additional sites for clinical rotations include UNCH and UNC occupational health clinics, UNC student health, and local health departments.

 Residents participate as co-seminar leader with SOM faculty in the course Clinical Epidemiology and Evidence Based Medicine.  The experience of teaching 2nd year medical students contributes to a deeper understanding and development of core preventive medicine competencies by residents. Additionally, the experience of leading discussions with groups of students contributes to the development of general competencies in communication with target audiences.

Each resident is expected to further develop his or her competencies through selection of elective rotations that complement the PHA, HPA/QI, research, and clinical rotations described above.  Residents may conduct more than one rotation in each of the above categories; in addition, residents are encouraged to seek out additional rotation sites where public health/preventive medicine is practiced.  Residents are encouraged to identify projects or sequential rotations that provide an understanding of how organizations work together to address a health issue of common interest. Residents funded by agencies or by training grants may have additional required rotations or activities

Support for Residents

Preventive medicine residents may enter the program through 3 different ways:

  1. Acceptance into the program after completion of at least 1 year of clinical residency at an institution other than UNC. These positions are sponsored by support from UNC Hospitals as well as training grant support.
  2. Acceptance into the program after completion of part or all of a clinical residency at UNC Hospitals. These positions are also sponsored by UNC Hospitals.
  3. Acceptance into the program in conjunction with a compatible fellowship program at UNC, such as the Primary Care Research Fellowship, the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Cancer Control Education Program, and others. Residents receive stipends and other support from their fellowship programs but they participate in all activities of the residency.

For trainees directly supported by the residency, stipends are equivalent to those of clinical residents with one year of prior training. This stipend is considered full-time compensation; revenues generated by research work or by clinical activity related to this training will go to the program to offset training costs. Individual medical insurance and disability is provided for residents. In addition, an annual travel allowance is provided, and tuition for coursework is paid as program funds allow.

The residency provides office space, use of a computer, access to electronic mail and the internet, and general office support for residents. The UNC Health Sciences Library is conveniently located between the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health and has a large number of journals available electronically.

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