Gillings School Directory

Nancy Williamson, PhD

Nancy Williamson, PhD

Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Maternal and Child Health
  • 103 Braswell Court
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27516
  • USA

Dr. Nancy E. Williamson is an adjunct associate professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health with more than three decades of experience in programmatic research and teaching in demography and reproductive health.

A special interest for her has been adolescent reproductive health. In this capacity, she directed an international youth project, YouthNet, at FHI360. A previous international program, the Women's Studies Project, focused on the impact of family planning on the lives of women (and men).

Dr. Williamson began her international career by working on a family planning project in India right after college. Her subsequent work took her to the Philippines, Bangladesh, Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria and many other countries. She taught at Brown University and worked at FHI360, the Population Council and USAID. She has also served as a consultant for WHO and UNFPA, among other organizations.

Teaching Interests

Dr. Williamson has taught the following courses:

University of North Carolina (2009-2014): Monitoring and Evaluation of MCH Programs (International and Domestic)

Nepal Family Planning Association: Monitoring and Evaluation of Family Planning Programs

Brown University (1972-1976): Statistics, Population and the Environment, Sex Roles

Research Activities

Dr. Williamson has a long-standing research interest in parental preferences for sons or daughters. She wrote a book on this topic and has published papers. She conducted research in this area in Singapore, Taiwan and Korea.

Other strong research interests have been breastfeeding, contraceptive technology, adolescent reproductive health and gender. A theme in Dr. Williamson's research has been how reproductive events influence women's lives.

Service Activities

Dr. Williamson served on the board of the local Planned Parenthood for 3-4 years. She has also taken on board responsibilities with the Carolina Friends School, Quaker House and the Benzie Area Symphony Orchestra. She currently volunteers for Project Connect in Chapel Hill; this organization originally served the homeless but, in recent years, has focused on low-income families in general.

Practice Activities

In a previous consultancy, Dr. Williamson prepared the UNFPA State of World Population Report for 2013 and evaluated their youth programs. She also reviews research proposals for the Society for Family Planning.


Postdoctoral program, Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1991

PhD, Sociology, Harvard University, 1973

MS, Demography and Human Ecology, Harvard School of Public Health, 1969

BA, Sociology, University of Michigan, 1966

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