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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 women and men assign meaning to reproductive events. A central goal of her work is to inform and reframe debates based on the views of the women and men 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 the Department of Social Medicine and the Center for Bioethics at UNC. 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 also a founder of the Second Wave Initiative, an effort to address women’s health needs during pregnancy through responsible inclusion of pregnant women and their interests in biomedical research. She is PI on the NIH-funded PHASES Project to advance equitable inclusion of pregnant women in HIV research, whose products include formal ethics guidance for advancing the evidence base for pregnant women and HIV/co-infections. In addition, she co-led a Wellcome Trust funded project to advance equitable inclusion of pregnant women research on Zika and other public health emergencies. She has addressed 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), a book 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, and The American Journal of Public Health, as well as the New York Times and Huffington Post. She was the 2007-2009 Chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Ethics, and Co-chair of the 2009 Program Committee for the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities. She has served on numerous national committees, including the March of Dimes National Bioethics Committee and the National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee to the Director’s Working Group on Stem Cell Research.

Anne Drapkin Lyerly, MD