Dr. Stephanie B. Wheeler

Stephanie B. Wheeler, PhD, MPH

Michael S O’Malley Distinguished Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management
Associate Director of Community Outreach and Engagement
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Research Fellow
UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
1104E McGavran-Greenberg Hall
CB #7411
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7411


Dr. Wheeler is a health services researcher and decision scientist focused on quantifying the social, behavioral, clinical, and organizational factors that affect healthcare access, quality, value and equity. Her research portfolio is primarily focused on cancer care delivery, with particular emphasis on improving value, understanding the financial and psychosocial impacts of cancer, and reducing health disparities. She also is a methodological resource for simulation modeling and systems science, ‘big data’ linkages and analytics, behavioral intervention studies, and comparative and cost effectiveness research. Dr. Wheeler is especially knowledgeable and well-versed in using economic, epidemiologic, and systems modeling to support better healthcare decisions, and she is adept in handling and analyzing complex datasets, including SEER-Medicare data, state cancer registry data linked to all payer claims data, epidemiologic cohort data (e.g., Carolina Breast Cancer Study), and healthcare workforce data.

Research projects currently led or co-led by Dr. Wheeler include: (1) NCI-funded studies focusing on implementation of colorectal cancer screening in diverse populations; (2) a NCI-funded R01 focusing on implementation of a behavioral intervention to optimize ET adherence among black and white breast cancer survivors; (3) a NCI-funded R01 focusing on implementation of a financial navigation intervention to reduce financial toxicity in rural and non-rural communities; (4) an American Cancer Society-funded study focusing on cancer care quality and inequity surveillance using novel data methods; and (5) a NCI-funded P01 project focusing on using simulation modeling to support HPV vaccine communication intervention adoption and implementation in rural and non-rural communities.  Other funded studies supported by Dr. Wheeler include projects focused on cost-effectiveness of implementation strategies used to enhance chronic disease care coordination interventions; effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of multicomponent cancer screening navigation interventions; and monitoring cancer care quality and outcomes in diverse communities in NC.

Dr. Wheeler directs the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement within the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and is a member of the senior leadership team and the Lineberger Equity Council.  She directs the CDC-funded Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network as PI of the Coordinating Center and is a research fellow at the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.  She co-directs the NCI-funded T32 Cancer Care Quality Training Program (CCQTP).  She currently serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Immediate Past Chair of the ASCO Quality Care Symposium.  Dr. Wheeler was awarded the 2017 Hettleman Prize for Scholarly and Artistic Achievement and the 2017 Early Career Award from the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health (ASPPH).  In 2023, she was recognized as the Michael S. O’Malley Distinguished Professor of Cancer Health Policy and Community Engaged Research.

Stephanie Wheeler in the Gillings News

Representative Courses

HPM 772 Techniques for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care

HPM 769 Cancer Outcomes Research Seminar

Research Activities

  • Using mathematical modeling and systems thinking to address complex health services questions
  • Applying methods for comparative and cost effectiveness research
  • Using social epidemiology in health disparities research
  • Measuring health outcomes using large population-based datasets
  • Understanding and informing medical decision making
  • Understanding and improving access to care
  • Cancer
  • Health disparities/health equity
  • Social epidemiology
  • Health behavior
  • Health care delivery
  • Health policy
  • Medical decision making
  • Women's health

Key Publications

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 AT, Rhode J, Yang JY, Baker D, Drechsel R, Plescia M, Reuland DS, Wroth T, Wheeler SB. (2018). Cancer.

Data-Powered Participatory Decision Making: Leveraging Systems Thinking and Simulation to Guide Selection and Implementation of Evidence-Based Colorectal Cancer Screening Interventions. S Wheeler, J Leeman, K Hassmiller Lich, F Tangka, M Davis, L Richardson (2018). Cancer journal (Sudbury, Mass.), 24(3), 132-139.

Financial Impact of Breast Cancer in Black Versus White Women. S Wheeler, J Spencer, L Pinheiro, L Carey, A Olshan, K Reeder-Hayes (2018). Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 36(17), 1695-1701.

"Taking the Bull by the Horns": Four Principles to Align Public Health, Primary Care, and Community Efforts to Improve Rural Cancer Control. S Wheeler, M Davis (2017). The Journal of rural health : official journal of the American Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Care Association, 33(4), 345-349.

Cost-effectiveness of treatments for heavy menstrual bleeding. J Spencer, M Louie, J Moulder, V Ellis, L Schiff, T Toubia, M Siedhoff, S Wheeler (2017). American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 217(5), 574.e1-574.e9.

Geographic and population-level disparities in colorectal cancer testing: A multilevel analysis of Medicaid and commercial claims data. M Davis, S Renfro, R Pham, K Hassmiller Lich, J Shannon, G Coronado, S Wheeler (2017). Preventive medicine, 101.

Investigating Associations Between Health-Related Quality of Life and Endocrine Therapy Under-Utilization in Women with Early Stage Breast Cancer." . L Pinheiro, S Wheeler, K Reeder-Hayes, C Samuel, A Olshan, B Reeve (2017). Journal of Oncology Practice.

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Four Simulated Colorectal Cancer Screening Interventions, North Carolina. K Hassmiller Lich, D Cornejo, M Mayorga, M Pignone, F Tangka, L Richardson, T Kuo, A Meyer, I Hall, J Smith, T Durham, S Chall, T Crutchfield, S Wheeler (2017). Preventing chronic disease, 14.

Impact of the elimination of cost sharing for mammographic breast cancer screening among rural US women: A natural experiment. J Peppercorn, N Horick, K Houck, J Rabin, V Villagra, G Lyman, S Wheeler (2017). Cancer.

Translating Cancer Surveillance Data Into Effective Public Health Interventions. S Wheeler, E Basch (2017). JAMA, 317(4), 365-367.

To be young, Black, and living with breast cancer: a systematic review of health-related quality of life in young Black breast cancer survivors. C Samuel, L Pinheiro, K Reeder-Hayes, J Walker, G Corbie-Smith, S Fashaw, C Woods-Giscombe, S Wheeler (2016). Breast cancer research and treatment, 160(1), 1-15.

Oncology providers' perspectives on endocrine therapy prescribing and management. S Wheeler, M Roberts, D Bloom, K Reeder-Hayes, M Espada, J Peppercorn, C Golin, J Earp (2016). Patient preference and adherence, 10.


  • BA (Honors), Theatre, College of Charleston, 2003
  • BS (Honors), Biology, College of Charleston, 2003
  • Master of Public Health, Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, 2007
  • PhD, Health Policy and Management, UNC-CH, 2010