University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Institutional Training Programs

AHRQ funds 18 institutions which recruit and train predoctoral and/or postdoctoral health services researchers. Details on characteristics of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, program and its self-identified areas of research interest are described.

Sheps Center for Health Services Research


Timothy S. Carey, M.D., M.P.H.
Program Director
Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Training Program
Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
725 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Campus Box 7590
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7590

Web site:  

Content Areas

  • Health Behavior.
  • Health Policy Analysis.
  • Child Health Services.
  • Dental Health.
  • Health Disparities.
  • Health Care Organization.
  • Rural Health Care.
  • Aging, Disablement, and Long-term Care.
  • Medical Practice and Health care Outcomes.
  • Evidence-based Practice and Comparative Effectiveness Research.
  • Women's Health.
  • Health Workforce Policies and Programs.
  • Health Care Economics and Finance.
  • Health Care Engineering.
  • Mental Health Services.
  • Preventive Health Services.

Program Description

This is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary predoctoral and multidisciplinary postdoctoral training program.

The predoctoral program invites applications from physicians, dentists, PharmDs and other postdoctoral trainees as well as predoctoral students already admitted to degree candidacy in the UNC-CH departments of Health Policy and Management, Epidemiology, Maternal and Child Health, Health Behavior, Biostatistics, Sociology, Geography, Economics, Anthropology, Public Policy, Pharmacy, Political Science and School of Information and Library Science. Trainees will gain experience in applying research methods to the systematic analysis and evaluation of health care services and health policy issues. The emphasis of the training program is the organization, financing, utilization, quality and evaluation of personal health care services and public policies for ensuring access to such services. 

Predoctoral students are accepted into the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-supported program only after having been admitted to their UNC departments for a Ph.D. or Dr.P.H. degree; most are in the penultimate year of their doctoral degree programs with a dissertation topic already selected that addresses a question of importance to health services research. Interdisciplinary grounding in tools and topics in health services research are provided these students. AHRQ funds are generally used to support students for a  2-year period.

Postdoctoral candidates can be persons with an MD, DDS/DMD, PharmD, PhD, Dr.PH or other relevant doctoral degrees and a serious commitment to a career in health services and patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). Post-doctoral applicants can have graduated from any doctoral program, and are not restricted to graduation from UNC. 

Sheps Center affiliated faculty mentor all fellows on a regular basis. Core faculty of the fellowship include Dr. Morris Weinberger and Dr Mark Holmes of the Department of Health Policy and Management, ; Dr. Kathleen Thomas of the Sheps Center Program on Mental Health , Dr. Betsy Sleath of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy of the UNC School of Pharmacy, Dr Barbara Mark of the School of Nursing, and Dr. Til Stürmer of the Department of Epidemiology. In addition to research methods, the program also focuses on career development, grant and scientific writing skills, and ethical issues in health services research.

All trainees are required to participate in a year-long weekly seminar involving students and faculty. In addition, trainees are expected to be involved in at least one ongoing health services research project in connection with the Sheps Center for Health Services Research, or with faculty from one of the collaborating academic departments. Upon completion of the training program, both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees will have gained a generalized background in contemporary health policy and PCOR issues, the historical significance of these issues, a solid understanding of the most common statistical and study design methods applicable to health services research and policy analysis, a set of materials to use as supporting references in their own work, experience in the design and conduct of interdisciplinary health services research under the supervision of at least one mentor with expertise in relation to the subject and methods being used, and to have submitted several papers for publication. Students also have the experience of presenting their work at a professional meeting.

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Page last reviewed October 2014
Page originally created August 2008
Internet Citation: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Content last reviewed October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.