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The Department of Social Medicine was created in 1978 as a new academic unit to incorporate the long-standing interest of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in community medicine and health care delivery systems. This interest, which had been represented early on by a Department of Preventive Medicine and subsequently by divisions within Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics, and by the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, was further advanced with the establishment of the new unit. Although originally called the Department of Community Medicine and Hospital Administration, its broad concern with the social sciences and medical humanities led to the adoption of the name Social Medicine in 1980. While the Department’s current mission and scope far exceed these early seeds in community medicine and health care delivery systems, these focal points remain crucial to Department faculty research, scholarship, teaching and service.

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