February 23, 2024

Dr. John Hatch

Dr. John Hatch

The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has received $250,000 in new scholarship funding from Piedmont Health Services, Inc. The John W. Hatch Scholarship Fund announcement was made to Dr. John Hatch ’75 and his family at Engage on February 22 at Gillings.

“Piedmont Health Services is honored to support the legacy of community-based public health pioneer Dr. John W. Hatch,” said Brian Toomey, former chief executive officer of Piedmont Health Services, Inc. “The John W. Hatch Scholarship Fund recognizes Dr. Hatch as the first community organizer for community health centers in this country. His commitment to public health for all and community driven health care was truly groundbreaking in 1965. He displayed incredible dedication, tenacity, innovation and courage.”

The John W. Hatch Scholarship Fund will support graduate students in the Department of Health Policy and Management and the Department of Health Behavior with an interest in working for Federally Qualified Health Centers.

Dr. Jack Geiger (left) and John Hatch oversee construction at the Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou, Miss.

Dr. Jack Geiger (left) and John Hatch oversee construction at the Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou, Miss.

John W. Hatch, DrPH ’75, came to UNC-Chapel Hill in 1970 to work at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research and soon enrolled as a doctoral student at UNC’s School of Public Health. He became a professor in what is now the Department of Health Behavior, studying health promotion and disease prevention. His work with Jack Geiger, MD, in the 1960s, at the Delta Health Center, in Mound Bayou, Miss., proved the value of community health centers, especially in Black and rural communities. He retired in 1995 as W.R. Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of health behavior. Dr. Hatch dedicated his career to community-based public health programs and advocacy on behalf of the poor and underserved in North Carolina, across the country and around the world.

“I am thankful for this honor and perpetual tribute at the Gillings School,” said Dr. John Hatch. “I can’t wait to meet the inaugural scholarship recipients and emphasize the importance of working for Federally Qualified Health Centers, a cornerstone of community-based primary care in North Carolina and across the nation. More than 30 million people benefit directly from community health centers.”

The scholarship was announced at the Gillings School’s 2024 Engage event. Originally launched as Re-Engage to strengthen connections between the Gillings School and its alumni community, Engage brings together Gillings School alumni and students to network and build fellowship through their diverse and nuanced experiences.

Piedmont Health Services (PHS) is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) community health center. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designates FQHCs to provide Medicare services to underserved populations and areas. As North Carolina’s first FQHC grantee organization in service for 53 years, the mission of PHS is to improve the health and well-being of the community by providing high-quality, affordable and comprehensive primary health care. Piedmont Health Services is the largest not-for-profit health system in the Piedmont region, with 10 Community Health Centers and two Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) SeniorCare centers, serving residents in five counties.

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