Dr. Marcus Plescia

Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH

Adjunct Professor
Public Health Leadership Program


Marcus Plescia is a physician with over 20 years of leadership experience in public health. He has held leadership roles in government at the local, state and national levels. In these positions, he has led efforts to enact systemic public health interventions including increased coverage for cancer screening, improved mechanisms to monitor prescription pain medications and infectious disease reporting, and expansion of state and local tobacco control policies. He has been prominent in nationwide efforts to transform public health practice to a more population-based, strategic framework, and led the implementation of the CDC's national colorectal cancer screening program based on this approach.

Marcus Plescia is a board-certified family medicine physician. His clinical work has been focused on medically underserved settings. He has extensive teaching and academic experience and has authored over 50 scientific publications. He currently serves on the American Cancer Society Mission Outcomes Committee and the Federal Advisory Committee for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. He was a past President of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

Marcus Plescia's professional interests are to expand the role and impact of public health and address health disparities through systems change interventions. His strengths include extensive experience in the management and administration of public health agencies, diverse communication skills and a broad perspective on health care delivery. He has experience developing evidence-based public health interventions and implementing quality improvement models in health care settings.

Honors and Awards

NC Heart of a Champion Advocacy Award
2016, NC AHA Advocacy Coordinating Committee

Eugene Meyer Traveling AHEC Fellowship
2000, NC AHEC

David Citron Award (Outstanding Junior Faculty in Family Medicine in North Carolina)
2000, UNC statewide Department of Family Medicine

Family Practice Directors Award
1995, Montefiore Medical Center

Cecil Sheps Award in Social Medicine
1990, UNC School of Medicine

Delta Omega
National Public Health Honor Society, 1989

International Fellowship (Awarded to study community oriented primary care in Kenya.)
1988, UNC Department of Social Medicine

International Fellowship (Awarded to study primary care in Great Britain.)
1986, UNC Department of Social Medicine

Service Activities

Coordinates faculty work in community

Key Publications

Comparative cost-effectiveness of fecal immunochemical testing (FIT)-based interventions for increasing colorectal cancer screening in the Medicaid population. Rhode J, Brenner A, Wheeler S, Reuland D, Plescia M et al.

Early Outcomes of an Urban Track in a Family Medicine Residency Program. Cole A, Viera A, Welch M, Lowe L, Plescia M, Dulin M. Family Medicine.

Public Health Framework to Improve Population Health through Healthcare and Community Clinical Linkages: The ASTHO/CDC Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Learning Collaborative. Felipe RA, Plescia M, Peterman E. A (2019). Preventing Chronic Disease.
View publication

Comparative effectiveness of mailed reminders with and without fecal immunochemical tests for Medicaid beneficiaries at a large county health department: A randomized controlled trial. Brenner A, Rhode J, Yang JY, Baker D, Drechsel R, Plescia M, et al. (2018). Cancer, 124(16), 3346-3354.

The Mecklenburg County Interlocal Agreement: An 18-year collaboration between medicine and public health. . Piper C, Plescia M, Keener S, DeHaven M. (2018). Journal of Public Health Management and Practice., 24(1), e1-e7.


  • MD, Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1990
  • MPH, Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1989
  • MS, Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1984