August 25, 2008

Dr. Ed Fisher

Dr. Ed Fisher

Edwin B. Fisher, PhD, professor of health behavior and health education in the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, has been named Global Director of Peers for Progress, a program to promote peer support in diabetes management around the world. Peers for Progress is an initiative of the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, in collaboration with the American Association of Diabetes Educators. It is supported by a grant from the Eli Lilly Company Foundation.

In accepting this new role, Fisher will step down as chair of the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. An interim chair will be appointed by UNC School of Public Health dean Barbara K. Rimer.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Ed Fisher, our School, and UNC,” said Rimer, DrPH, who in addition to being dean also is Alumni Distinguished Professor of health behavior and health education.

Noting that diabetes has emerged as one of the major health problems facing the globe, she added, “There is a great deal of evidence that peer support can make a major contribution to managing diseases like diabetes. It is wonderful that the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation has taken on this important initiative to encourage peer support programs and has included the American Association of Diabetes Educators as a collaborator. It’s also noteworthy that the Eli Lilly Company Foundation has supported the program very generously. Since Ed Fisher has been a leader in both diabetes and social and peer support, his directing Peers for Progress is a wonderful match.”

Fisher came to UNC in 2005 to chair the department of health behavior and health education. Before that, he was a professor of psychology, medicine and pediatrics at Washington University, where he directed the division of health behavior research and became a leader in health behavior and public health aspects of diabetes.

He joined Washington University after earning his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1972 from Stony Brook University in New York. He also has served as president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and as national program director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Diabetes Initiative.

As Global Director, Fisher will lead the overall development of Peers for Progress. This includes a $6 million grant program to document the benefits of peer support in diabetes management, as well as diverse activities to promote peer support around the world.

Fisher also directs the Peers for Progress Program Development Center at UNC, which includes Zulfia Chariyeva, MPH, JoAnne Earp, ScD, Renee Boothroyd, PhD, Eugenia Eng, DrPH, Michael Hammond, Laura Linnan, ScD, Suzanne Maman, PhD, and Deborah Tate, PhD, from the School of Public Health; along with John Buse, MD, PhD, and Camille Izlar, RD, CDE, from the School of Medicine; and Timothy Daaleman, DO, and Adam Zolotor, MD, of the School of Medicine’s department of family medicine.

“The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation is pleased to welcome Ed Fisher to head up Peers for Progress as its Global Director,” said Craig Doane, Executive Director of the Foundation. “Through this important initiative, our foundation can promote peer support as a critical complement to family medicine and good health care. Ed Fisher’s many accomplishments in diabetes management and peer support and his broad experience make him the ideal person to lead and enhance the scope of this program. We are also delighted that Ed’s appointment enhances the role in Peers for Progress of UNC and its marvelous strength in community and peer approaches to health promotion along with diabetes and family medicine.”

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Note: Fisher can be reached at (919) 966-3918 or

School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or



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