Eric Whitsel

Eric A. Whitsel, MD, MPH

Department of Epidemiology
Adjunct Professor
Department of Medicine
123 West Franklin Street, Suite 410
Room 4226
CB #8050
Chapel Hill, NC 27516


Eric A. Whitsel, MD MPH is a Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and Mentor in four T32-supported training programs (Cardiovascular; Genetics of Heart, Lung and Blood; Environmental; and Biosocial). He has decades of experience as a WHI, ARIC, HCHS/SOL, and Add Health Coordinating Center Investigator. He is UNC PI of the WHI Southeast Regional Center, PI of several WHI and ARIC multi-omics ancillary studies, Chair of the WHI Built and Natural Environment Scientific Interest Group, and Chair of the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Environmental Working Group. Whitsel also has twenty plus years of combined leadership and service on WHI, ARIC, and Add Health morbidity and mortality classification, outcomes adjudication, and ancillary study committees. His work in environmental epidemiology is notable for co-authorship of the 2009 and 2016 U.S. EPA / NCEA Integrated Science Assessments for Particulate Matter, as well as direction in establishing the accuracy and reliability of the geocodes, measures of heart rate variability, air / noise pollution exposures, other contextual attributes, and genetic / somatic genomic / epigenetic data for the studies mentioned above. In these roles, Whitsel’s research has focused on topics at the intersection of environmental, cardiovascular, and genetic epidemiology.

Eric Whitsel in the Gillings News

Honors and Awards

Trudy Bush Award for Cardiovascular Disease Research in Women’s Health
2005, American Heart Association

Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program Award
2003 - 2007, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Poster Competition in Population Science Finalist
2002, American Heart Association Scientific Sessions

National Research Service Award
1993-1995 and 2000-2002, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Academic Honors
1992-1993, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

John B. Graham Student Research Society
1991, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Holderness Medical Fellowship / Neurobiology Research Training Fellowship
1990-1991, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Honors Research Program
1985-1986, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Representative Courses

Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology Peer-Led Research Workshop

Research Activities

  • Electrocardiography
  • CVD Surveillance
  • Environmental Epidemiology
  • Genetics & Epigenetics

Key Publications

Radon exposure and incident stroke risk in the Women's Health Initiative. Buchheit SF, Collins JM, Anthony KM, Love SM, Stewart JD, Gondalia R, Huang DY, Manson JE, Reiner AP, Schwartz GG, Vitolins MZ, Schumann RR, Smith RL, Whitsel EA. (2024). Neurology.

Radon Exposure, Clonal Hematopoiesis, and Stroke Susceptibility in the Women's Health Initiative. Anthony KM, Collins JM, Love SM, Stewart JD, Buchheit SF, Gondalia R, Schwartz GG, Huang DY, Meliker JR, Zhang Z, Barac A, Desai P, Hayden KM, Honigberg MC, Jaiswal S, Natarajan P, Bick AG, Kooperberg C, Manson JE, Reiner AP, Whitsel EA. (2024). Neurology, 102(2).

Comparison of PM2.5 air pollution exposures and health effects associations using 11 different modelling approaches in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS). Power MC, Bennett EE, Lynch KM, Stewart JD, Xu X, Park ES, Smith RL, Vizuete W, Margolis HG, Casanova R, Wallace R, Sheppard L, Ying Q, Serre ML, Szpiro AA, Chen JC, Liao D, Wellenius GA, van Donkelaar A, Yanosky JD, Whitsel EA. (2024). Environ Health Perspect , 132(1), 17003.

Individual and neighborhood-level socioeconomic status and somatic mutations associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality: a cross-sectional analysis in the Women's Health Initiative. Love SM, Collins JM, Anthony KM, Buchheit SF, Butler EN, Bey GS, Gondalia R, Hayden KM, Zannas AS, Bick AG, Manson JE, Desai PM, Natarajan P, Bhattacharya R, Jaiswal S, Barac A, Reiner A, Kooperberg C, Stewart JD, Whitsel EA. (2023). Women’s Health Issues , S1049-3867(23).

Associations between ambient air pollutants and clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential. Leiser CL, Whitsel EA, Reiner A, Rich SS, Rotter JI, Taylor KD, Tracy RP, Kooperberg C, Smith AV, Manson JE, Mychaleckyj JC, Bick AG, Szpiro AA, Kaufman JD.  (2023). Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev , 32(10), 1470-1473.

Characterizing temporal trends in populations exposed to aircraft noise around U.S. airports: 1995-2015. Nguyen DD, Levy JI, Kim C, Lane KJ, Simon MC, Hart JE, Whitsel EA, VoPham T, Malwitz A, Peters JL. (2023). J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol .


  • Fellowship, Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003
  • Residency/Fellowship, Internal Medicine, University of Washington, 2000
  • MPH, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1995
  • MD, Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1993
  • BS, Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1986