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Leigh Callahan Headshot

Mary Link Briggs Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Professor in the Departments of Social Medicine and Orthopaedics
School of Medicine

Adjunct Professor
Department of epidemiology
Gillings School of Global Public Health

Dr. Callahan has over 30 years of experience in arthritis and health outcomes research, and experience in public health as a former arthritis epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her specific areas of expertise are in four major areas: 1) outcomes and epidemiological research; 2) establishing collaborations across the UNC campus and in communities across North Carolina and the nation; 3) leadership roles in professional and nonprofit arthritis organizations; and 4) setting arthritis public health agendas.

Dr. Callahan has an undergraduate degree from UNC Chapel Hill and a PhD in public policy from Vanderbilt University. She is the Associate Director at Thurston Arthritis Research Center (TARC).  She is also Director of the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA), a coalition of more than 100 organizations committed to elevating osteoarthritis as a national health priority.  The OAAA is based at TARC.  She has taught Clinical Epidemiology and Aging and Health courses at UNC Chapel Hill.

Dr. Callahan has served on a number of editorial boards, is a former editor for the Arthritis Care and Research journal and has been a reviewer for numerous journals including the Journal of Rheumatology, Arthritis and Rheumatism, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Medical Care.  She has served on the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Dr. Callahan is a long-time volunteer for the Arthritis Foundation (AF) on both the state and national level, and received the Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service in 2005 for her work with the Foundation.  In 2006, she received the Addie Thomas Service Award from the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP).  She received the ARHP Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.  This is the highest honor that ARHP bestows. She has authored more than 250 publications and articles, is a frequent presenter at conferences and meetings worldwide, and continues to spearhead a number of projects examining the factors surrounding arthritis, epidemiology, health outcomes, health literacy and health disparities.  She has received numerous grants from the NIH and CDC.