Gillings alumnus makes “40 under 40 in Public Health” list by de Beaumont Foundation

May 29, 2019

Corey Davis, JD, MSPH, an alumnus of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been selected as one of this year’s “40 Under 40 in Public Health” for his work to advance equity-focused public health law, policy and practice.

Dr. Corey Davis

Dr. Corey Davis

The de Beaumont Foundation created the “40 Under 40 in Public Health” list to recognize leaders in the field whose creativity and innovation are strengthening communities across the country.

Davis is a lawyer, professor, advocate and mentor. As he describes it, he strives “to create a healthier, safer and more just society” by advancing policies that recognize the dignity and rights of people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, people who use drugs and people who engage in sex work.

“My goal is to advocate for laws and policies that have as their guiding principle the fact that everyone deserves dignity, respect, and the right to protect and improve their health,” said Davis.

Currently, Davis is a senior attorney at the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and is deputy director of the Southeastern Region of the Network for Public Health Law. In these roles, he helps federal, state and local partners utilize the law as a tool to reduce inequities and improve public health. He also assists advocates who are working to create more just and equitable laws, policies and practices.

Before joining NHeLP, Davis served as an employment rights attorney at Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, where he represented LGBTQ individuals before administrative commissions and in state and federal courts. Prior to joining Equality Advocates, he oversaw a legal clinic at Prevention Point, Philadelphia’s syringe exchange program. In both of these positions, he provided direct legal representation as well as education, outreach and strategic advocacy.

Davis has served in numerous public health leadership positions, including chair of the Orange County, North Carolina, board of health; chair of the board of directors of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition; member of the board of the North Carolina Public Health Foundation; and founding member of SIFMA-NOW!, a grassroots organization that advocates for overdose prevention sites in Massachusetts.

Davis’s work has earned him a number of accolades. He received the International AIDS Society’s Young Investigator Award for research on the effect of law and law enforcement practice on access to syringe exchange programs in Philadelphia, and the Mitch Snyder Award for efforts to expand access to care and treatment for people who use drugs.

Davis earned a Juris Doctor degree from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in 2005 and received a Master of Science in Public Health from the Gillings School in 2010. He has authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles and currently holds faculty appointments at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine and Occidental College.

Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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