Global leadership. Local impact.

The Gillings School's Department of Epidemiology is one of the world’s leading academic departments for epidemiological study. Renowned faculty members empower students with training in effective research practices and methods. We conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research and provide classroom and real-world education that emphasizes the integration of substantive area knowledge with cutting-edge epidemiologic methods. We also work with students to apply their research to a variety of health problems across North Carolina and around the world. As countries around the globe work to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, researchers and practitioners from every discipline at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health are turning their expertise into action to support the pandemic response.

Our Recent News

William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor Dr. Ralph S. Baric is a world leader in coronavirus research and is part of a research collaboration between Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that has identified and tested a new antibody that limits the severity of infections from COVID-19 as well as the original SARS illness.

Dr. Ralph Baric (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
Ralph S. Baric, PhD

Coronavirus Affects Everyone: The Department of Epidemiology Responds

Drs. Ralph Baric, Timothy Sheahan, Lisa Gralinski and many others in the Baric Lab are racing to find answers to COVID-19. Dr. Baric also is working with the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health to evaluate lead candidate vaccines; additionally, he serves on the WHO and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations working groups, which are seeking countermeasures against the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Andy Olshan organized a March 3 coronavirus seminar to share what experts knew about the outbreaks at that point.

Dr. Kim Powers, who models infectious diseases in populations, recently gave an interview on why the exponential growth of COVID-19 makes containment more challenging and is helping the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) with projections of the COVID-19 trajectory in the state.

Dr. David Weber is in charge of infection prevention efforts at UNC Hospitals and has spoken about emergency scenario planning for health care teams.

An illustration from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals the basic form of the virus blamed for the outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

Message from the Chair

Coronavirus drug shows promise at Carolina

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health researchers are testing a new broad-spectrum antiviral drug that could potentially be a relief to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Watch the video

Second Annual SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Updates Seminar (March, 2021)

Leading experts from the Department of Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health share the latest on new COVID-19 variants, vaccines and vaccine trials, breakthrough treatments, what’s happening in the clinical environment, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) perspectives and much more.

Watch the video

About Us

Our offices are located on the second floor of McGavran-Greenberg Hall. For general questions about the department, the degree program, or admissions, contact us at or call us at (919) 966-7430.

Assistant to Chair
Jacqueline Dark:, (919) 966-7419

Mailing Address
Department of Epidemiology
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
135 Dauer Drive
2101 McGavran-Greenberg Hall, CB #7435
Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7435

More Department Contacts

Inclusive Excellence

At the Gillings School, inclusive excellence means we welcome, value and learn from individual differences and perspectives. By cultivating inclusion within the School, we better prepare our students, faculty and staff for the diverse world that awaits them. A globally-interconnected world needs culturally competent people to serve as its leaders.

Our Mission and Goals

Our mission is to improve the public’s health by training epidemiologists and by advancing knowledge concerning the causes and prevention of disease and the promotion of health. We strive to creatively integrate substantive knowledge and methods from many fields into epidemiologic research, teaching and practice, with an ultimate commitment to benefit public health.

Our goals are to:

  • Provide the highest quality education to enable scientists and health professionals to advance epidemiology as a discipline and apply their skills to advance scientific knowledge in public and private settings.
  • Advance interdisciplinary and multilevel knowledge of health and disease in populations.
  • Create and evaluate opportunities to promote health and reduce illness and disability in populations regardless of socioeconomic status (i.e., a diversity goal).
  • Innovate and advance the field of epidemiology through the development of epidemiologic methods.
  • Partner with public health agencies to improve the health of populations through the training of public health leaders and the application of epidemiologic knowledge by public health practitioners.
  • Improve the health of populations in the State of North Carolina and globally.

Our History

Since the “father of preventive medicine” was the founding dean of UNC’s public health school, infectious disease is not a surprising focus for research at the School. Milton J. Rosenau, MD, an epidemiologist and self-described “disease detective,” was invited to UNC  following his mandatory retirement as dean of Harvard’s public health school.

One of the School’s first major research projects in the early 1940s was aimed at controlling and eradicating venereal diseases. John Wright, MD, MPH, who headed the epidemiological study, adopted a number of innovative techniques in the project, including using computer technology to collect data, recording nurse-patient interviews to help train public health nurses, and developing filmstrips as an alternative instruction method for patients.

Today, the School continues its commitment to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases among those with limited access to health services.

Read more about "Our First 40 Years, 1936-1976." (PDF)