University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health
Gillings School of Global Public Health
University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill
UNC School of Public Health.jpg

Established 1940
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Dean Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH
Website Gillings School of Global Public Health

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health provides teaching, conducts research, and delivers service to people across North Carolina, the United States and around the world. Ranked the top public school of public health, the School's mission is to improve public health, promote individual well-being and eliminate health disparities. In 2011, the U.S. News & World Report ranked the Gillings School of Global Public Health as the top public school of public health and the second school of public health overall (behind the top ranked Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and ahead of the third ranked Harvard School of Public Health).[1] (this is compared with the 2008 ranking when the school was ranked second along with Harvard School of Public Health).[2]

The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and offers undergraduate and graduate programs in traditional classrooms on the Chapel Hill campus and through the latest distance-education technology.


Academic Departments

The School boasts eight degree-granting divisions that offer baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees:

Centers and Institutes

In addition to academic departments, several centers and institutes operate within the School, providing additional contributions to public health research and practice.

  • The School's service and outreach arm, the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, brings public health scholarship and practice communities together.
  • Carolina Public Health Solutions, the School's newest initiative funded by a $50 million gift in 2007 from Dennis and Joan Gillings,[3] enables the School to anticipate new public health challenges, quickly find solutions, and accelerate the delivery of best practices to improve people’s lives.
  • The School's Office of Global Health organizes the School's global health activities.

The School also collaborates with many external centers and institutes specializing in health care research and practice and with other schools within and beyond UNC.


The School was organized in 1936[4] as a division within the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina. Separate status as a school of public health was granted in 1939, making the school the first school of public health established within a state university. The school awarded its first graduate degrees in 1940.

In 1949, UNC added the schools of Dentistry and Nursing with the schools of Public Health, Medicine and Pharmacy to formally organize the University's Division of Health Affairs. Thus, the School of Public Health became one of the few schools of public health in the nation to be co-located with four other health-profession schools on one campus.

Through the years, the School has grown into a collection of seven different departments and a Public Health Leadership Program. The departments of Epidemiology, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Health Policy and Administration (now Health Policy and Management), and Public Health Nursing (now the Public Health Leadership Program) existed when the school was founded. The department of Health Behavior and Health Education was added in 1942, Nutrition in 1946, Biostatistics in 1949, and Maternal and Child Health in 1950.

The School received a pledge of $50 million in 2007 from Dennis and Joan Gillings to fund

  • Innovation Laboratories to focus concentrated, interdisciplinary efforts on solving public health problems
  • Visiting professorships and executives in residence to facilitate leadership development for faculty and for leaders from other institutions
  • Student support to develop the next generation of public health experts
  • Strategic investments such as the Water Institute at UNC

The Gillings School of Global Public Health continues to award doctoral, master's and undergraduate degrees and certificates to students who take courses on campus in Chapel Hill or via the Internet as distance learners.


  1. ^ U.S. News & World Report. "Best Public Health Programs". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ Ranking of Best schools of Public Health in US by U.S. News & World Report
  3. ^ Carolina First Campaign exceeds $2 billion goal early with $50 million gift from Dennis and Joan Gillings, UNC News Services, Feb. 21, 2007.
  4. ^ Korstad, Robert Rodgers (1990). Dreaming of a time: the School of Public Health: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1939-1989. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina.,262831. 

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