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


  • Long overlooked by science, pregnancy is finally getting attention it deserves – Dr. Anne Lyerly (The Washington Post)

    For two years, a group of world-class scientists pitched their idea for a hot new biotech company to investors: a start-up focused on a promising therapy for preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication that can become life-threatening. It was cutting-edge science, backed by a Nobel laureate, a Harvard kidney specialist, a leading chemist, and a biologist with … Continued

  • Juengst to be Visiting Professor at University of Antwerp

    Eric Juengst will serve as a visiting professor at the University of Antwerp’s Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine from March 1- March 30, 2019, to collaborate with Professor Annelies Van Rie on a study of the ethical implications of phylogenetic tracking for tuberculosis.

  • Brinkley-Rubinstein Receives NIH 5 Year Multi-Site grant.

    Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, PhD, was awarded a multi-site five year R01 to establish the Southern Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Cohort among parolees in NC, KY, and FL. The estimated HIV prevalence among criminal justice (CJ) involved individuals is three times higher than the general population. Parolees on post-release supervision after release experience multi-level obstacles (e.g., lack of access … Continued

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