Public Health Leadership Program Snapshot

Hello, prospective students!

Welcome to our brief overview of the Public Health Leadership Program at UNC Gillings.


Daniel McMillan (MD/MPH, 2013) saw patients in a clinic in the Dominican Republic as a student in PHLP.

We are part of a top school of public health within a university long seen as one of the “public ivies.” Public Health Leadership prepares public health practitioners for leadership positions by developing their population-level knowledge and skills with an interdisciplinary emphasis. Students learn collaboratively to develop skills in assessing community health needs, developing innovative policies and programs, and maintaining and improving new systems. Public Health Leadership offers:

Online Academic Certificate Programs in:

  • public health leadership
  • core concepts in public health
  • global health
  • field epidemiology
  • occupational health nursing

All certificate programs are offered online, with some featuring an in-person component. Certificate programs are open to any interested student not currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill. Credits earned through certificate programs are fully transferable to the MPH Program in Public Health Leadership if a student applies, and is admitted, to that program.

An interdisciplinary MPH Program with three concentration areas in:

  • Leadership. This program, which may be completed online or residentially, is designed for new and experienced professionals interested in public health practice.
  • Health care and prevention. This 15-month residential program is designed for physicians or medical students.
  • Occupational health nursing. This program, which may be completed online or residentially, is designed for registered nurses with an interest in working in occupational health.

Interested in finding out more? Visit our full department website.

The Public Health Leadership Program aims to create public health leaders with the vision and ability to anticipate and solve future health challenges wherever they occur throughout the world.

By the Numbers

12 full-time faculty

50 adjunct faculty


  • 110 MPH
  • 205 Certificate Program


Our Faculty

Our faculty have strengths in:

  • Health politics and policy, health outcomes and models of care delivery
  • Screening and harms of screening, including overdiagnosis
  • Prevention and reduction of cardiovascular risks and disease
  • Integration of primary care and public health
  • Quality improvement
  • Hazards and protection of health care workers
  • Ethical issues in occupational health
  • Public health systems and services research
  • Implementation of science methods for designing, improving and evaluating global health programs
  • Capacity building of the global health workforce

Discover more on ReachNC, a web portal with to-the-minute info about our faculty members’ grants, publications, and research interests and  networks.

Contact us

For general questions regarding the department, degrees or admissions, contact:

Michele Fulton

Paul Frellick

In Public Health Leadership at Gillings, we: 

  • Offer a customized curriculum to meet the demands of busy practitioners in public health and medical care.
  • Offer courses delivered through a combination of traditional classroom and online formats, bolstered by practical, hands-on experience.
  • Create leaders who share a command of latest technologies and most current public health approaches.

As a small but diverse group of educators, faculty in Public Health Leadership:

  • Bring experience in both professional and academic environments.
  • Collaborate closely with faculty from the Schools of Medicine and Public Health to offer a curriculum built around principles of leadership and public health best practices.
PHLP Student 2

Students in PHLP certificate programs gain competency in public health principles, methods and practices on their own schedules through online courses designed for the working professional.

Master of Public Health (MPH) Programs:

MPH with Leadership Concentration: A 15-month degree program for new graduates and experienced professionals that can be completed in fewer than 3 years. Designed for those who wish to broaden their knowledge and skills in public health philosophy and sciences. Applicants come from a variety of disciplines and have a range of experiences. The curriculum builds on previous work experiences, which allows some program flexibility.

MPH with Healthcare and Prevention Concentration: One-year degree program that provides physicians and medical students with a population perspective and skills to use that perspective in clinical and community settings. Typically earned during students’ third and fourth year of medical school.

MPH with Occupational Health Nursing Concentration: A terminal degree program  for working professionals that can be completed in 2-2.5 years. Provides education and training to professional nurses in occupational health nursing to promote worker health and safety. Interdisciplinary curriculum supports the scientific and disciplinary development of occupational health nursing and provides opportunities to apply knowledge through a mentored practicum experience. Students are prepared for leadership/ management positions in industry, government, and other occupational health settings, to act as consultants to business, industry, and government, and to provide program planning and evaluation expertise.

Online Certificate Programs:

Online Certificate in Public Health Leadership: An 11-credit hour program open to any interested student not currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill. Designed for public health professionals aiming to further develop their leadership skills and potential, covers core content taught in PHLP’s Leadership MPH concentration.  Provides leadership development directed at the individual, team, organizational and community levels within the context of public health and health care. Students will master competencies that will enable them to have a greater influence and effectiveness within their organizations. Students may register, receive materials, interact with faculty and successfully complete this program while only traveling to campus once for three days.

Online Certificate in Core Concepts in Public Health: A 15-credit hour program open to any interested student not currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill. This interdepartmental program covers the required core content taught within UNC’s MPH programs – epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and management, environmental health, and health behavior. All courses are taught completely online.

Online Certificate in Global Health: A 12-credit hour program open to any interested student not currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill. This interdisciplinary 12-program examines the complexities inherent in improving health on a global scale. Prepares students to work in changing environments and with diverse populations and to respond competently to health challenges presented by permeable geographic and cultural boundaries. All courses are taught completely online.

Online Certificate in Field Epidemiology: A 12-credit hour program open to any interested student not currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill. Program addresses: core functions of outbreak investigation; surveillance systems and methods; infectious disease epidemiology; and field epidemiology methods. All courses are taught completely online.

Online Certificate in Occupational Health Nursing: A 12-credit hour academic program developed specifically for distance education and open to any interested student not currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill. All credits earned are completely transferable as part of the requirements for the completion of the OHN Concentration MPH degree. Students may register, receive materials, interact with faculty and successfully complete this program while only traveling to campus once for eight days.

Interested in learning more about our programs and certificates? Explore further with our Gillings Program Search (GPS) tool.

The MPH in Public Health Leadership offered me the chance to weave together my different professional interests and commitments in a way that has helped me amplify my public health impact.
As Vice President of Research and New Solutions for Express Scripts, Dr. Frazee provides scholarly, actionable and timely research that helps make the use of prescription drugs safer and more affordable for All Americans.
Sharon Frazee, PhD, MPH
MPH in Public Health Leadership, 2007

With a degree in Public Health Leadership, Gillings alumni are prepared to:

  • lead departments, agencies and divisions across the entire spectrum of health affairs specialties.
  • Infuse public health approaches into their work to make a difference in population health.

They are successfully employed across NC and around the world in:

  • Local and state health departments
  • Government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Armed Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Indian Health Service
  • Colleges and universities
  • Global ministries and NGOs, including Oxfam, Doctors without Borders, Care and Save the Children
  • Hospitals and health systems
  • Nonprofit organizations large and small, including FHI 360, RTI and Westat

Recent alumni positions include:

  • Senior vice President of Health Policy, California Hospital Association
  • Executive Director, Care Share Health Alliance
  • Medical Director, Cumberland County Department of Public Health
  • Director, Consortium for Infant and Child Health, Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Vice President of Research and Analytics, Express Scripts
  • Senior CRA and Medical Writer, Health Decisions
  • Senior Global Feasibility Analyst, Kendle International
  • Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University

Find out more about careers in public health leadership.

PHLP Student

Our programs and courses are designed with the working professional in mind. Most offerings can be completed online and require no (or in some cases minimal) travel to the UNC-Campus.

Interested in finding out about our course offerings?

Faculty and student colleagues in Public Health Leadership create and participate in a welcoming, interactive online and residential classroom environment using twenty-first century teaching methods, technologies and facilities.

Take a look at our complete course catalog, plus syllabi to find out more.


Interested in finding out more? Visit our department website.