William L. Roper, MD, MPH
Dean of the School, 1997 – 2004
Before coming to UNC, ROPER had a long career of leadership in private, academic and government organizations, including as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and senior vice president of Prudential HealthCare. As dean, he established and directed the N.C. Institute for Public Health to provide specialized training, consulting, research and technical assistance to groups across the state and oversaw the construction of the Michael Hooker Research Center. He was committed to collaboration with other health affairs schools on campus and developed new partners for improving public health, including from the private sector.
Public Health Grand Rounds, a collaboration of the School’s N.C. Institute for Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a tradition established under Dean Roper. The Grand Round format presents a case study on a pressing public health topic, which is reviewed by a panel of experts. Past topics have included pandemic flu, emergency preparedness, bioterrorism, chronic disease and child health.
“In this era of possible health reform, a significant opportunity lies in drawing the fields of public health and health care delivery closer together. A significant step toward achieving this goal would be building cooperative linkages between schools of medicine and schools of public health. The academic institutions that are training future leaders for medical care and for public health must collaborate to produce both physicians who are equipped to deal with the health problems of populations and public health workers who understand the medical care system. Indeed, over the long term, we can aspire to having a ‘health system’ that does not involve constant discussion of this matter of two separate and different worlds.”
Roper is now dean of the UNC School of Medicine, chief executive officer of the UNC Health Care System and vice chancellor for medical affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.