About Us

Who we are

The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research (or Sheps Center) is a unit of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


photo of front of Sheps Center Building on an angle

The Center’s director reports to the Vice Chancellor for Research. Oversight responsibility of the Center is vested in an Advisory Board whose members include senior faculty and administrators from the 5 health science schools, departments from the Division of Academic Affairs, as well as representatives of the health services community at large. The director receives assistance in planning and leading the Center’s activities from four deputy directors and from program directors responsible for specific substantive areas of research.



photo of reflection in trees on glass side of Sheps Center BuildingThe Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research seeks to improve the health of individuals, families, and populations by understanding the problems, issues, and alternatives in the design and delivery of health care services. This is accomplished through an interdisciplinary program of research, consultation, technical assistance, and training that focuses on timely and policy-relevant questions concerning the accessibility, adequacy, organization, cost, effectiveness, and equity of health care services and the dissemination of this information to policymakers and the general public.


cecil g sheps


The UNC-CH Health Services Research Center was started in 1968 with funding from the National Center for Health Services Research (now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, AHRQ). The original grant application can be found HERE. It was one of the first five health services research centers in the country. The first director was Cecil G. Sheps, MD, MPH—an internationally known health services researcher.

Gordon H. DeFriese, PhD was the director for 27 years (from 1973 to 2000) and greatly expanded the Sheps Center. Under his direction, the Center achieved national and international visibility. Timothy S. Carey, MD, MPH was director from October 16, 2000, through July 31, 2016. Mark Holmes, Ph.D. was appointed director on August 1, 2016. The Center was named for Cecil G. Sheps in 1991.