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Professor, Social Medicine Research Professor, OBGYN

BA (English) 1991, Dartmouth College – Hanover NH
MD 1995, Duke University – Durham NC
MA (Philosophy) 2004, Georgetown University – Washington DC

Annie Lyerly, MD, MA is Professor of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is also Research Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her research addresses socially and morally complex issues in women’s health and reproductive medicine, with a focus on how people assign meaning to reproductive events. A central goal of her work is to inform and reframe debates based on the views of those most profoundly affected by them, and to appropriately weight these individuals’ interests in shaping reproductive health care.

After finishing medical school and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Duke, she completed the Greenwall Fellowship in Bioethics and Health Policy at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities, and spent ten years on the faculty at Duke before joining UNC’s Department of Social Medicine and its Center for Bioethics as its first Associate Director. Dr. Lyerly co-founded the Obstetrics and Gynecology Risk Research Group, which brought together experts from medical epidemiology, anthropology, obstetrics and gynecology, philosophy, bioethics, gender theory and medical humanities for research on how risk is assessed and managed in the context of pregnancy. She is a founder of the Second Wave Initiative, an effort to ensure that the health interests of pregnant people are fairly represented in biomedical research and drug and device policies. She was PI on the NIH-funded PHASES Project to advance equitable inclusion of pregnant women in HIV research, which produced formal ethics guidance. She co-led a Wellcome Trust funded project to advance equitable inclusion of pregnant women research on Zika and other public health emergencies. She now leads the NIH-funded PREPARE Project addressing the ethics of research engaging pregnant adolescents. She has examined a range of topics in reproductive medicine, including stem cell research and frozen embryo disposition, miscarriage, maternal-fetal surgery, vaginal birth after cesarean, conscience in the provision of reproductive care, and others. She is the author of, A Good Birth (Penguin Group/USA), based on findings of the Good Birth Project, describing what constitutes a “good birth” from the perspectives of childbearing women.

Dr. Lyerly has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust, and the Greenwall Foundation including its Faculty Scholars Program. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Science, JAMA, The New England Journal of Medicine, the Hastings Center Report, the Lancet, and The American Journal of Public Health, as well as the New York Times and Scientific American.

She served as Chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Ethics, and Co-chair of the Program Committee for the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities. She has also served as an advisor for a wide range of national and international organizations, including the World Health Organization, the March of Dimes, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Task Force Specific on Research Specific to Pregnant and Lactating Women, among others. She is a elected member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars and a fellow of the Hastings Center.

Anne Drapkin Lyerly, MD