Dr. Deborah Porterfield

Deborah Porterfield, MD, MPH

Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Public Health Leadership and Practice
CB #7240
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Deborah Porterfield serves as Director of the Preventive Medicine Residency. Many of the residents complete their required MPH in our program. Dr. Porterfield often serves as co-adviser and master's paper reader. She currently serves as a senior research public health analyst at RTI, an Associate Professor and Director of the Preventive Medicine Residency in the Department of Family Medicine, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Dr. Porterfield is a public health expert with experience in research, practice, and teaching. She is an expert in the control and prevention of chronic diseases, particularly diabetes and cancer. Her work aims to strengthen public health practice across the United States by focusing on the integration between healthcare and public health, quality improvement, and performance measurement. She has worked with a range of major clients, including federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Porterfield holds a medical license in North Carolina and is board-certified in preventive medicine. A fellow and active member of the American College of Preventive Medicine, she has served in numerous roles including former chair of the Residency Directors Council. She is also a member of the American Public Health Association, AcademyHealth and the North Carolina Medical Society.


  • MPH, Health Care and Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000
  • MD, Medicine, University of California, School of Medicine (San Francisco, CA), 1993
  • BA, Biology, Harvard/Radcliffe Colleges (Cambridge, MA), 1987