Professor, Social Medicine
Adjunct Professor, Sociology

BA 1971, Oberlin College
MA 1977, PhD 1982, Sociology, University of Michigan

Gail E. Henderson, PhD, is professor of Social Medicine in the School of Medicine and adjunct professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was Chair of Social Medicine from 2009 to 2015. Her teaching and research interests include global health inequality and research ethics. Dr. Henderson is a medical sociologist with training in public health and has extensive experience with interdisciplinary research and analysis. She served as senior editor of The Social Medicine Reader (Duke University Press, 1997, second edition, 2003), an interdisciplinary medical school text that includes material on bioethics, social and cultural factors in health and illness and the organization of medical care. Her research and publications on health care in China have spanned three decades. In 1984 she co-authored The Chinese Hospital (Yale University Press) and in 1989 was Co-investigator on the NICHD-funded China Health and Nutrition Survey, which is still ongoing. Dr. Henderson served as a consultant to the China CDC National Center for AIDS Prevention and Control, organizing a series of ethics and IRB training workshops. At UNC, she was Co-Director of the International Core of the UNC Center for AIDS Research from 2004 to 2014. In 2007, she was awarded a 5-year NIH NICHD R24 grant, “Partnership for Social Science Research on HIV in China,” collaborating with 9 UNC investigators and Chinese researchers from Peoples University in Beijing and the Nanjing National STD Control Center. In 1999, she co-edited a research ethics casebook, Beyond Regulations: Ethics in Human Subjects Research. Since 1999, Dr. Henderson’s research on bioethics has been funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI) Program on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genomic Research. She was PI of a study that examined how benefit in gene transfer research is discussed and understood by those who conduct and participate in such trials; and co-investigator on a survey of participants in a case-control study of colorectal cancer in blacks and whites in North Carolina, to determine their perceptions of genetic research and the collection of genetic data. In 2007, she became PI of a 5-year NHGRI center grant at UNC, “Center for Genomics and Society (CGS),” with 18 co-investigators. Its mission is research and training on ELSI of large scale genomic studies. In 2013 the Center was renewed for another five years, with a study of screening asymptomatic adults for rare, medically actionable mutations, “GeneScreen.” Since 2009, Henderson has been the ELSI Editor of the journal, Genetics in Medicine. In 2010, she conducted NHGRI-supported case study and survey research on ethical issues associated with the use of biospecimens and other data collected, stored, and managed by biobank organizations. She is a member of the Ethics Core of the UNC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS), and the national CTSA Biobank Working Group. She is co-PI of NCGENES (North Carolina Clinical Genomic Evaluation by NextGen Exome Sequencing), part of a national consortium, CSER (Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research), awarded 2011-2015, and co-investigator of a study of “Unintended and Intended Implications of HIV Cure: A Social and Ethical Analysis,” awarded 2013-2018, a grant which includes work in the US, China, and South Africa.

Curriculum Vitae


Phone: 919.843.8268

Fax: 919.966.7499

Post: Gail Henderson / CB #7240, Department of Social Medicine / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7240