Dr. Gordon H. DeFriese 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, after two years in the U.S. Army as a Captain and head of the Electives Program of the U.S. Army Armor Advanced Course at Ft. Knox, 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. 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 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 an Elected Member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine). He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.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. From 1999 to 2007, he was a member-at-large of the National Board of Medical Examiners. From 2002-2006, Dr. DeFriese served as Editor-in-Chief of the North Carolina Medical Journal, which became the responsibility of the NC Institute of Medicine, published jointly with The Duke Endowment.
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. Much of his current work focuses on challenges facing the field of long-term care. As of June 2018, Dr. DeFriese has joined Cansler Collaborative Resources as a Senior Health Policy Specialist in Raleigh, NC.
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