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Gordon H. DeFriese, Ph.D.

Dr. Gordon H. DeFrieseGordon H. DeFriese, Ph.D.
Professor of Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Administration, Emeritus
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
President Emeritus, North Carolina Institute of Medicine


“Long-Term Care and Obamacare: Who's Gonna' Care?”

Dr. Gordon H. DeFriese is currently the Acting Director of the Health Promotion Institute of the AARP and the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), based in Washington, DC and New York, NY, which focuses on the translation and dissemination of scientific health information affecting older adults.  From 2010-11, Dr. DeFriese served as President and CEO of FutureCare of North Carolina, a non-profit research and education foundation working with the skilled nursing care community in this state to achieve higher standards of care for residents and families served by these facilities.

He is an advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Health with regard to the Healthy Israel 2020 initiative. In 2004, Dr. DeFriese was appointed as a member of the Advisory Board on Health Disparities of the New York Academy of Medicine; from 2004-2009 as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Health Improvement, a non-profit, national policy organization working in the field of preventive health services located in Sacramento, California; and from 2007-2009 as a member of the Health Advisory Board of the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.  From 2002-2006, Dr. DeFriese served as Editor-in-Chief of the North Carolina Medical Journal, which became the responsibility of the N.C. Institute of Medicine, published jointly with The Duke Endowment. From 1999 to 2007, he was a member-at-large of the National Board of Medical Examiners.  From 1994-2005, Dr. DeFriese served as the President and CEO of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, a private non-profit organization of lay and professional leaders chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly to study the health needs and opportunities of the people of North Carolina.  In 2002, he received the Porter Prize for his work in the field of prevention and health promotion. In 1990, Dr. DeFriese joined with Former Secretary of Health and Human Services and U.S. Senator, Richard S. Schweiker, Terry L. Lierman and Karen A. Bodenhorn to form a new national organization, Partnership for Prevention, a coalition of private sector business and industry organizations, voluntary health organizations and state and federal public health agencies based in Washington, D.C., who have joined together to work toward the elevation of prevention among the nation's health policy priorities.

In 1971, Dr. DeFriese was appointed as Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the graduate program in medical sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Two years later, in 1973, he was appointed Director of (what is now) the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC-Chapel Hill, a position he held until October of 2000.  This Center, which was founded in 1968, currently has over 160 staff and 150 affiliated faculty Research Fellows representing more than 20 academic disciplines with a common interest in the study and evaluation of personal health services. Until he officially retired from UNC-CH in July 2005, Dr. DeFriese held appointments as Professor of Social Medicine and Professor of Medicine (in the Division of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology) at the UNC-CH School of Medicine; Professor of Epidemiology and Health Policy and Administration in the UNC-CH School of Public Health; and Professor of Dental Ecology in the UNC-CH School of Dentistry.  From 1986-2000 he served as Co-Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program co-sponsored by the UNC-CH School of Medicine and the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. From 1996-99 he served as the founding director of the UNC Institute on Aging.

Dr. DeFriese is a Past President and Distinguished Fellow of the Association for Health Services Research (now AcademyHealth).  From 1983-96, he was the Editor (and now Editor Emeritus) of the journal, Health Services Research published by the Health Research and Educational Trust, the official journal of the Association for Health Services Research (AcademyHealth), and is a former member of the Health Services Research Study Section of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.  He is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and a Member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academies. He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.

His personal research interests have included studies in the areas of medical sociology, primary health care, rural health services, health services utilization behavior, child health services, dental care, medical technology assessment, medical self-care, health and aging, long-term care, health status measurement, cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis, medical specialization, and health promotion/disease prevention.  In the latter area, Dr. DeFriese has concentrated a great deal of his recent research activity.  He was a member of the first U.S. Preventive Services Task Force appointed by the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, a member of the Advisory Council on Education for Health of the Center for Corporate Public Involvement (of the American Council on Life Insurance and the Health Insurance Association of America), a member of the National Board of Directors of Wellness Councils of America, and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Health Education.  In addition, he has served as a member of the Global Advisory Group on Health Systems Research of the World Health Organization in Geneva and the Board of Scientific Advisors to the Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies of the New York Academy of Medicine.  He served as the U.S. representative on the Advisory Committee on Health Research of the Pan American Health Organization and as Chairman of the PAHO-ACHR Subcommittee on Health Services and Systems Research.

He studied sociology and medical behavioral science at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, taking his doctoral degree in the Department of Behavioral Science in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, with a specialization in medical sociology.  In his first academic position, he served as Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the graduate program in medical sociology and health planning at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.