Epidemiology

A recent study co-led by researchers from the Department of Epidemiology found that, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added a black-box warning to all antidepressants in 2004, more young people initiated treatment on low doses of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Co-authors Greta A. Bushnell, MSPH, doctoral student, Til Stürmer, MD, PhD, professor, Alice White, PhD, adjunct associate professor, and Virginia Pate, MS, applications analyst, are all with the Department of Epidemiology. Read more...
Message from the Chair
"Our goal is to train the next generation of leaders to address health challenges here and across the world. We offer an array of programs designed to meet student needs at different points in their career, from master’s to doctoral degree programs." Read more.
Andrew Olshan
Andrew Olshan, PhD
Chair and Professor

Our Department of Epidemiology is one of the world’s leading academic departments in epidemiology.

Renowned faculty members provide students with training in effective research practices and methods. We conduct innovative research and provide classroom and real world educational interdisciplinary opportunities that emphasize the integration of substantive area knowledge and cutting-edge epidemiologic methods. We also work with our students to apply their epidemiology research to a variety of health problems here in North Carolina and across the world. Our research resources include diverse studies of disease endpoints (cancer, cardiovascular, infectious disease, injury, and Reproductive/perinatal/pediatric epidemiology) and factors and methods that impact patterns of disease and population health (environmental, occupational, pharmacoepidemiology, genetic, social, and methods). Read more about our research strengths…


The latest issue of the Department of Epidemiology Newsletter, Episode, in available on-line.

Epidemiology students, alumni take front and center at international epidemiology conference.

The 48th annual meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER) was held in Denver June 16-19. The international professional conference, sponsored by the largest general epidemiology society, was attended by 79 people associated with the School’s Department of Epidemiology. Read more…

Meshnick awarded $2M CDC grant to study Lyme disease in Rhode Island.

Steven Meshnick, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is one of the principal investigators for the study. Read more…

The fall issue of Carolina Public Health magazine is filled with information about the activities of our faculty and postdocs.

Featured articles

aielloa_allison_95x115Dr. Allison Aiello, Slowing the spread of flu. Her team enlisted 100 college students on a single campus to participate in the study. For 10 weeks during the 2013 flu season, the students were given Google Android smartphones preloaded with iEpi. The app kept a record of people with whom the students came in contact over that period, and the students self-recorded any symptoms of illness.

Audrey PettiforDr. Audrey Pettifor, Behavioral economics. Why do some people choose not to take actions that they know would protect or improve their health? Behavioral economics research provides one of the answers – people tend to focus upon immediate costs and benefits of taking certain actions, rather than on long-term benefits. Research increasingly has shown that relatively small rewards can spur action. See video

steve_marshall The challenges of healthy aging. Globally, the number of people 60 years old and older is growing exponentially. By 2050, these individuals will constitute nearly one-quarter of the world’s population. Contributing are Dr. Steve Marshall, PhD, Professor (left) and Dr. Wayne Rosamond, PhD, Professor (right). rosamond_wayne

EPID_James_Thomas_2014mHealth, Public health solutions, now without boundaries. UNC’s MEASURE Evaluation: Collecting data and using it to improve health. Dr. James Thomas, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, directs the program, and nine public health faculty members are on the staff, sharing the program’s focus on education and research that informs and guides public health decision making.

Selected Publications

Dr. Andrew Olshan, PhD, Barbara Sorenson Hulka Distinguished Professor of Cancer Epidemiology and Chair, Cancer and cancer-related health disparities in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Til Stürmer, MD, PhD, Professor, Women’s and children’s health in Injury Prevention.

Dr. Karin Yeatts, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Other chronic diseases, Journal of Asthma.

Selected Grants

Dr. Steven Meshnick, MD, PhD, Professor, a co-awardee of a four-year grant of more than $2 million to study Lyme disease prevention and exposure among outdoor workers in Rhode Island.

Selected Awards and Recognitions

Dr. Stephen Cole, PhD, Professor, 2015 recipient of the American College of Epidemiology (ACE) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Epidemiology.

Dr. Jennifer Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, recipient of the John E. Larsh Jr. Award for Mentorship.

Dr. Daniel Westreich, PhD, Assistant Professor, appointed to the editorial board of the journal Epidemiology and invited to serve as section editor in methods for Current Epidemiology Reports. He also serves as associate editor for the American Journal of Epidemiology.


What Our Students Say
Sydney Jones, PhD Student

Sydney Jones

Sydney Jones, Doctoral Student

“Epidemiology at Gillings has been the right choice for me. When you enter this department, you join a community of scholarship forged from collaboration between students, faculty and disciplines. Our training starts in the classroom and extends to support public health in North Carolina, the U.S. and abroad.”

Read more student stories…

News Spotlight

Gillings School researchers engaged in NCI grant to address cancer disparities. Dr. Anissa I. Vines, Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Gillings School, was named a regional coordinating co-director of one of two three-year funding awards from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that will bolster work by the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to address disparities in cancer incidence and mortality in North Carolina and across a three-state region. Read more…

Research led by epidemiology student now rated sixth in impact among readers of global health journal. In sixth place was an article co-authored by Christine L. Gray, MPH, Epidemiology doctoral student at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Brian W. Pence, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School and Gray’s academic adviser. Read more…

Read more spotlight stories

Epidemiology student selected for Forbes ’30 under 30′ list of rising stars. Mugdha Gokhale, MS, doctoral candidate in Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been selected as one of Forbes magazine’s ’30 under 30′ people to watch in health care. Read more…

Study finds urine sampling can be effective screening tool for high-risk HPV. Members of the team, including principal investigator Jennifer S. Smith, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, conducted a study in which they examined urine samples obtained from 37 women with suspected cervical disease attending the Gynecologic Oncology clinic at UNC Hospitals. Read more…

Epidemiology students honored by The Obesity Society. Epidemiology honorees for “Abstracts of Distinction” are Gabrielle Jenkins and Kamika Reynolds, doctoral students in epidemiology. In addition, Reynolds was selected as the top prizewinner in the epidemiology section. She conducted an independent examination of different methodologies that scientists have proposed to measure body composition, ultimately identifying which methods work best. Read more…

False-positive mammograms may indicate increased risk of breast cancer later. Women with a history of a false-positive mammogram result may be at increased risk of developing breast cancer for up to 10 years after the false-positive result, according to a study led by a researcher at the University of North Carolina. Read more…

Study finds more children were prescribed low-dose antidepressants after FDA issued warning. A recent study co-led by researchers from the Department of Epidemiology found that, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added a black-box warning to all antidepressants in 2004, more young people initiated treatment on low doses of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Read more…

New SARS-like virus can jump directly from bats to humans, no treatment available. Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered a new bat SARS-like virus that can jump directly from its bat hosts to humans without mutation. However, researchers point out that if the SARS-like virus did jump, it is still unclear whether it could spread from human to human. Read more…

UNC study finds higher vitamin D and calcium intake does not reduce colorectal polyp risk. A large, randomized study led by a researcher in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health found that vitamin D and calcium supplements do not reduce the risk of colorectal adenomas, which are benign tumors that can evolve into colorectal cancer. Read more…

UNC Lineberger grant application earns NCI’s highest recognition. Cancer Prevention and Control and Cancer Epidemiology – made a good showing in NCI’s review. They were rated “exceptional” and “outstanding”, respectively. Read more…

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Why do students attend UNC Epidemiology?

Why do students attend UNC Epidemiology?
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Events Calendar

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Cancer Epidemiology Seminar Series

Fridays, 1:00-2:00 PM

2101G McGavran-Greenberg Hall

Cardiovascular Epidemiology Seminar Series

Tuesdays, 12:30-1:30 PM

0001 Michael Hooker Research Center

Environmental/Occupational Epidemiology Seminars

Fridays 2:00 – 3:00 PM

2005 Michael Hooker Research Center

Environmental/Occupational Epidemiology Journal Club

Mondays 2:30 – 3:30 PM

3005 Michael Hooker Research Center

Pharmacoepidemiology Seminars

Mondays 3:30 – 4:30 PM

2301 McGavran-Greenberg Hall

Social Epidemiology Research Seminar

Wednesdays, 12:20 – 1:10 PM

1305 McGavran-Greenberg Hall