holmes_mark_at mapCenter Director, Mark Holmes, PhD

Mark Holmes, PhD, has been the director of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research since August 2016.

Holmes is a professor and associate chair for research in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. He has served with the Sheps Center since 1997, beginning as a graduate research assistant and most recently as the director of the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, a senior research fellow and the co-director of the Program on Health Care Economics and Finance.

Holmes received his B.S. from Michigan State University, majoring in mathematics and economics, and his PhD from the Department of Economics at UNC-Chapel Hill. His interests include hospital finance, rural health, workforce, health policy, and patient-centered outcomes research. In 2014, he received the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty and in 2015 he was named the Outstanding Rural Health Researcher by the National Rural Health Association. Previously, he was vice president of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, where he gained experience in North Carolina health policy. He also served on the board of the North Carolina Health Insurance Risk Pool, and is a member of advisory boards and committees to multiple programs in North Carolina. His state policy work led to his 2010 Health Care Hero “Rising Star” and 2012 “Forty Under Forty” awards from the Triangle Business Journal.


Deputy Director for Policy, Erin Fraher, PhD, MPP

Fraher-for-webFraher has worked as a policy analyst and health workforce researcher in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. She is the Director of the Program on Health Workforce Research and Policy at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. For nearly 15 years, she has led the work of the Program to provide policy-relevant research to inform state and national debates about how to best educate and deploy health care professionals. Fraher is an Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill, holding joint appointments in the Departments of Family Medicine and Surgery. Her current work focuses on assessing what educators, employers and other stakeholders can do to retool and reconfigure the health workforce to meet the demands of a transformed health system reform. Fraher earned her PhD in Health Policy and Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her Masters in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley and her BA from Wellesley College.



Deputy Director for Research, Crystal Wiley Cené, MD, MPH

As a clinician, Dr. Cené is focused on developing and implementing strategies designed to support and empower family members in the care of patients with chronic conditions, particularly those at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Her work and life’s passion for clinical care and research was influenced by her personal experiences with family members experiencing complex, chronic health conditions.

She has published extensively on the impacts of family and social support on improving outcomes and reducing disparities in patients from underrepresented and underserved groups.

Her work has earned numerous awards including the UNC School of Medicine’s Simmons Scholar Award and a Junior Faculty Development Award from UNC’s Office of the Provost. She has participated in the American Heart Association’s Research Leaders Academy and RTI’s International University Scholars Program.

Dr. Cené has been a member of the UNC School of Medicine faculty since 2008. She is a native of Onslow County and a graduate of UNC. She completed her MD training at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine and her residency training in Primary Care at Yale University. She received a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also completed a fellowship in General Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins.

Deputy Director for Business, Finance & Research Administration, Nancy JenkinsNancy Jenkins

Nancy has worked with The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 45 years with almost 24 years of these with The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. In her role with the Sheps Center, she has responsibility for directing business, finance, administrative activities and being the liaison with the Vice Chancellor for Research’s Research Administration Service Center and the university’s offices of human resources, finance, sponsored research, security, facilities, and others. Nancy has an open-door policy and is known as the “go to” person and the “problem solver”. She is a member of the Sheps Center’s Administrative Team.

In Nancy’s tenure with UNC-CH, she also has worked with several departments within the School of Public Health (Health Policy and Management; Nutrition; and Maternal and Child Health); several divisions within the School of Pharmacy; and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Nancy graduated from Sanford Business College as an Executive Assistant/Stenographer where she concentrated in accounting. She loves, finance, gardening, canning, cooking and baking, sewing, drawing and sketching.

Deputy Director of IT, Brian Cass

Cass has over 20 years of experience leading IT teams both in public and private sectors, and within the academic administration, education, and research spaces.  He is currently Interim Deputy Director of IT for the Cecil G. Sheps Center where he leads the 4 IT teams at Sheps, which are Analytical Programming, Web and Database Programming, Systems Administration, and Desktop Security. For the past 9 years, Cass participated in the design and implementation of over 50+ health services related research projects funded by NHLBI, National Institutes of Health, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American Cancer Society, and private foundations.