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Areas of Interest

Geriatric medicine; Palliative medicine; Long-term care

Projects Pages

Coming Soon!

About Dr. Hanson

Dr. Laura Hanson is a tenured Professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1986, Dr. Hanson trained in Internal Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She then completed fellowships in Geriatric Medicine and in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at UNC. In 1991 she was awarded an MPH degree in Epidemiology from the UNC School of Public Health.

She is a founding co-Director of the UNC Palliative Care Program, an interdisciplinary program of palliative care services and related research and teaching and currently serves as its director. Additionally, Dr. Hanson is a board-certified physician in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. As a result, she provides clinical services for frail and medically complex older patients, and for adult patients of all ages with serious and potentially life-limiting illness.

As the lead clinical investigator on the PEACE Project she helped to develop and test clinical quality measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum and applied nationwide in hospice care. She has been the principal investigator or co-investigator for numerous studies to improve nursing home dementia care, including two NIH-NIA funded randomized clinical trials of decision aids for palliative care in advanced dementia. Dr. Hanson also serves on the Steering Committee and as a site-Principal Investigator for the Measurement Core of the Palliative Care Research Cooperative group, a nationwide palliative care clinical trials network.

Read: INPCS Recognizes Dr. Hanson
Read: Trial To Reduce Antimicrobial Use in Nursing Home Residents
Read: NIA Awards $4.1million in Funding to Multicenter Trial led by Dr. Laura Hanson
Read: McCann, Hanson Worked Proactively to Support Congregate Living Communities Early in the Pandemic


Education and Training

  • UndergraduateDuke University
  • Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School
  • ResidencyBrigham & Women’s Hospital
  • ResidencyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • FellowshipUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Masters of Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Selected Recognitions and Honors
  • Indiana University IUCAR / RESPECT Visiting Scholar, 2022
  • UNC Medical Center Quality and Safety award, 2021
  • Stanley Aronson Lectureship in Hospice & Palliative Medicine, Department of Medicine,
    Brown Alpert School of Medicine Grand Rounds, 2021
  • Chatham County Board of Health Community Health Partnership award, 2020
  • Visiting Professor, Division of Geriatrics, University of California-San Francisco, 2016-2017
  • Geriatrics Literature Year in Review selection for the Journal of the American Geriatrics
    Society, Goals of Care study, JAMA Internal Medicine, 2017
  • H. Fleming Fuller Award, UNC School of Medicine and UNC Hospitals, 2011
  • American Geriatrics Society Outstanding Excellence in Geriatric Research, 2011
  • Cecil G. Sheps Distinguished Investigator Award, 2010
  • Triangle Business Journal Healthcare Hero Award, 2006
  • American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award for Improving Nursing Home Care of the Dying, 2003
  • UNC School of Medicine Teaching Excellence Award, 2002
  • America’s Top Doctors, 2001–2013
  • Leadership Symposium, North Carolina Medical Society, 1999
  • Soros Faculty Scholar, Project on Death in America, 1997–99
  • Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Faculty Scholar Award, 1993–1997
  • Harvard National Scholarship, Harvard Medical School, 1982–1986
  • Angier B. Duke Scholar, Duke University, 1978–1982
  • Coming Soon