Dr. Thomas Ricketts

Thomas C. Ricketts, PhD

Adjunct Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management
Senior Policy Fellow
Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research
351 Sheps Building
CB #7490
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7490


Thomas C. Ricketts, III, PhD, MPH, is Senior Policy Fellow in the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Adjunct Professor of Health Policy and Management and Social Medicine at the UNC-Gillings School of Global Public Health and the UNC School of Medicine, and Professeur Associé of the École des Hautes Études en Santé Publique of Paris and Rennes, France.

He is a Board member of the NC Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation. He previously founded and directed the North Carolina Rural Health Research Center (1988-2000) and the Southeastern Health Workforce Research Center (2003-2009). He was appointed a member of the National Health Care Workforce Commission in 2010. He is a consultant to the American College of Surgeons on workforce issues and access to surgery.

Dr. Ricketts was Editor of the North Carolina Medical Journal between 2006 and 2012 having previously served as Editor of the Journal of Rural Health from 1990 until 1996. In 2014 he completed a special assignment as adviser to the Administrator of HRSA helping reorganize its structure.  He teaches population health and research methods in the UNC Doctoral Program of Public Health Leadership and writes and lectures about US health policy-making.

Representative Courses

HPM 860 - Population Perspectives for Health

HPM 950 - The Research Process | Syllabus

Research Activities

  • Identifying the Optimal Health Care Workforce
  • Ensuring access to health care in rural communities

Service Activities

  • Treasurer, Foundation of Health Leadership and Innovation
  • Mentor for students and fellows

Practice Activities

Advising and consulting for public agencies, foundations, and professional associations.

Key Publications

FutureDocs: Nation has Enough Physicians to Meet the Nation’s Overall Needs – For Now. Distribution to Worsen. Emily K. Tierney, Thomas C. Ricketts, Andy Knapton, Erin P. Fraher. (2017). Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Issue Brief 1#.
View publication

Building a Value-Based Workforce in North Carolina. Fraher EP, Ricketts TC. (2016). North Carolina Medical Journal, 77(2), 94-98.

Reconfiguring health workforce policy so that education, training, and actual delivery are closely connected. Ricketts TC, Fraher EP. (2013). Health Affairs, 32(11), 1874-80.


  • BA, History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • MPH, Health Administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1978
  • PhD, Health Policy and Administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1988