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Michael Emch, PhD

Michael Emch, PhD

Department of Epidemiology
Carolina Population Center
Professor and Chair
Department of Geography

Dr. Michael Emch is professor of epidemiology, professor and chair of the Department of Geography and fellow at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His expertise is in infectious disease ecology, neighborhood determinants of health and geographic information science applications of public health. He leads the Spatial Health Research Group, which conducts research that explores spatio-temporal patterns of disease, primarily infectious diseases of the developing world.

Disease patterns are studied using a holistic approach by investigating the role of natural, social, and built environments in disease occurrence in different places and populations. Diverse statistical and spatial analytical methods are informed by theory from the fields of medical geography, epidemiology, ecology, and others. These theories and methods are used to examine diverse topics such as the role of population-environment drivers in viral evolution.

Teaching Interests

Dr. Emch teaches several courses in the Department of Geography, mostly about spatial components of health. His course syllabi are available at

Service Activities

Advisory Editor, Medical Geography, Social Science & Medicine (2005 to Present)

Associate Editor, Health and Place (2015 to Present)

Editorial Board, Health and Place, (2014 to 2015)

Practice Activities

Member, Faculty Advisory Committee, Institute for the Environment (2012 to 2016)

Member, Carolina Population Center Training Committee (8/06 to 12/10 and 2/12 to 2/16)

Chair, Department of Geography  (7/13 to present)

Chair, Review Committee, Center for Urban and Regional Studies and Director of the Center (2015)


PhD, Geography (Medical), Michigan State University, 1998

MA, Geography, Miami University of Ohio, 1992

BA, Biology, Alfred University, 1987

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