The Center for Pharmacoepidemiology (the “Center”) is a unique partnership between the Department of Epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, the leading public school of public health in the U.S., and notable non-academic stakeholders. As a recognized academic leader in epidemiology and pharmacoepidemiology, UNC and the Center provide a unique forum to generate innovative, evidence-based solutions to challenges related to comparative effectiveness research and evaluation of the safety of drugs and devices in real-world clinical settings.

Initiated through a grant from GlaxoSmithKline in 2002, the Center has a history of fostering collaborative research between academia and industry partners who share a commitment to developing robust methodologies and generating valid evidence using observational data on real-world patients from a variety of sources.

For information about degree programs, admissions, and research in the Pharmacoepidemiology Program  within the Department of Epidemiology, please visit our page at the Gillings School of Global Public health.


The mission of the UNC Pharmacoepidemiology Program is to advance public health through educating diverse audiences, developing innovative methods, and disseminating robust evidence on the uses and effects of medical interventions.

Message from the Director:

Dr. Michele Jonsson Funk

I welcome all those interested in the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology to browse our pages. Initiated through a grant from GlaxoSmithKline in 2002, the Center is currently expanding its collaborations across the pharmaceutical industry, government, and regulatory agencies. This expansion is very timely, because the need to evaluate the intended and unintended effects of drugs in those actually taking these drugs rather than only in small, selected populations, is increasingly recognized (see, e.g., the 2007 FDA Amendment Act (FDAAA) and the 2009 Institute of Medicine report on Comparative Effectiveness Research). Pharmacoepidemiologists are at the center of generating such evidence focusing on benefit to harm evaluations for populations and defined subpopulations. Epidemiologic studies of medications are often criticized because of their nonexperimental study design. While I certainly disagree with the notion that we can only learn from randomized trials, I think we can all agree that continued developments and application of methods to address various biases in both experimental and nonexperimental studies are essential to improve our understanding of what works in current medical practice and what does not. To achieve this, we need to train researchers within and outside of academia, that is all those implementing and interpreting pharmacoepidemiologic studies, in state-of-the art methods. This is the mission of the Center and I am very proud to be its director. The Center helps the UNC pharmacoepidemiology program to attract the best faculty and students. This creates synergy between the Center and the academic program. I hope these pages provide a good overview over the Center’s vision, mission, and past and current activities and I am personally interested in your feedback.