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William J. Powers, MD, Professor of Neurology and former department chair (April 2007 – April 2018) to retire on June 30.

Dr. Powers was recruited to UNC from Washington University School of Medicine in 2007 to chair the Department. He received his MD from Cornell University and was an intern at Duke University before completing his residency at the University of California, San Francisco.

William J. Powers, MD
William J. Powers, MD

Powers presided over significant clinical and research advancements during his time as Chair, including the opening of a 16-bed Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit in 2010 and the opening of UNC’s first Epilepsy Monitoring Units.

During his tenure as Chair, UNC Hospitals also became a nationally recognized leader in stroke care. In 2013 and again in 2017, UNC was recognized by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association with the Disease-Specific Care Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification. When first awarded in 2013, UNC was the 15th hospital in the nation, and first in the Southeast to achieve the designation. Further accolades were achieved in 2017 when UNC received the Gold Plus Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

During Powers’ time as Chair, the Adult Neurology Residency Program was expanded from four to seven residents, the Child Neurology Residency was expanded from three to five years, and the number of accredited subspecialty residency programs expanded from one to six.

Throughout his time at UNC, Powers has maintained an active educational role, clinical practice and research portfolio. He has served as principal or co-investigator on seven NIH research grants, been first or co-author on 60 peer-reviewed publications, and serves on the editorial boards of Stroke, The Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, The Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease and The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. He has been voted teacher of the year by the adult neurology residents six times.

Nationally, Powers received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association William M. Feinberg Award for Clinical Excellence in Clinical Stroke, and twice chaired AHA/ASA writing groups charged with updating care guidelines for stroke patients. He is a member of the American College of Radiology Expert Panel on Neurological Imaging. He was awarded the A.B. Baker Teacher Recognition Award by the American Academy of Neurology in 2021.

Although retiring from UNC, Dr. Powers will not be retiring from neurology. On July 1, he will join the faculty at Duke as Professor of Neurology and continue to teach students, residents and fellows.