UNC Social Medicine

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.

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In Memoriam

George SheldonGeorge Sheldon, longtime secondary faculty member in Social Medicine, died on June 16, 2013. He had been a consistent and important presence in our department, particularly in the last decade. His advocacy for, and scholarship in, history of science and medicine has been very important, not just in the School of Medicine, but across the UNC campus. His historically-based Humanities & Social Sciences Seminar, taught to a class of second-year medical students each year, was always highly-sought and well-reviewed. Remembrances of Dr. Sheldon’s work in the School of Medicine can be found here.