August 22, 2017

Dr. Benjamin Meier, right, accepts an outstanding alumnus award from Dean Linda Fried, of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Dr. Benjamin Meier, right, accepts an outstanding alumnus award from Dean Linda Fried, of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Photo by Leslye Smith.

Benjamin M. Meier, JD, LLM, PhD, adjunct associate professor in health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, received the 2017 Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award in early June from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Meier, who earned a doctorate in sociomedical sciences at Columbia, is also associate professor of global health policy and Zachary Taylor Smith Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

According to the Mailman School announcement, Meier’s commitment to public health, human rights and social justice was instilled by his grandparents, who were Holocaust survivors and refugees to the U.S.

He has written and presented extensively on the development, evolution and implementation of human rights, and his interdisciplinary research – at the intersection of international law, public policy and global health – examines human rights frameworks for global health governance.

He helped initiate a 2012 lecture series on human rights at UNC and worked with an ad hoc committee of the Association of Schools of Public Health to revise core competencies for graduate students and incorporate human rights into the public health core curriculum. He also serves as chair of the American Public Health Association’s human rights forum and membership chair of APHA’s health law section.

Meier also has advised sub-Saharan African organizations, including the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Global Campaign for Microbicides, on developing rights-based policies. He has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on global health security and is a consultant to the World Health Organization, where he is helping to build human rights indicators to assist member states as they incorporate rights-based policies into their programming.

“I am not at all surprised that Ben has been honored with this prestigious award,” said Margaret (Peggy) Bentley, PhD, Carla Smith Chamblee Distinguished Professor of Global Nutrition and associate dean for global health at the Gillings School. “I was on the search committee that successfully recruited Ben to UNC and our School. We knew that we had found someone very special, even though he was just beginning his academic career. He has gone on to have a major impact in the field of global health policy and human rights. His prodigious research and publications shine light on our university and make a difference to those whose human rights to health are compromised.”

Bentley also is associate director for UNC’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases.


Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or

Visit our communications and marketing team page.
Contact with any media inquiries or general questions.

Communications and Marketing Office
125 Rosenau Hall
CB #7400
135 Dauer Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400