Skip to main content
Divisions Faculty Featured News News Sidebar Featured News,
Jeni Cook
January 18, 2023

New leader has a distinguished career in population science, community-based participatory research and a resolve to identify solutions for health equity issues in North Carolina’s underserved populations


Ronny Bell, Ph.D., M.S., brings a unique background to a role that encompasses three areas of responsibility: chair and distinguished faculty in the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy (DPOP) in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Senior Advisor to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and collaborator with the UNC American Indian Center.

Bell brings an affinity for hard work, a servant leader mindset, a deep experience in higher education and administration along with research focused on cancer health equity and chronic disease in rural and underserved populations. As a native North Carolinian and proud member of the Lumbee tribe, Bell saw the health equity issues firsthand growing up in Robeson County. Located in rural Southeastern North Carolina, Robeson is ranked last in health outcomes among all counties in the state.

With a drive to learn more about public health issues and understand how they impact underserved communities, Bell followed in the Tar Heel footsteps of his older brothers and earned a Bachelor of Science in public health nutrition at UNC-Chapel Hill and a Masters and doctorate in nutrition at UNC-Greensboro. He also completed a post- doctoral fellowship in the Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics and obtained a Masters in Epidemiology at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Over the course his career, Bell served in various roles as a faculty member and administrator in higher education. He served as a faculty member at Wake Forest University School of Medicine for over 20 years and was professor and chair at East Carolina University Department of Public Health for four years. Bell was also director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest Baptist from 2006-2016. At the state level, he served as co-chair of the Healthy North Carolina 2030 Task Force and chair of the North Carolina Diabetes Advisory Council. He also currently serves as the chair of the North Carolina American Indian Health Board.

In addition, Bell has been active in research committed to disease disparities and is highly regarded in the cancer research field. His background in public health and research has allowed Bell to look at different types of health issues such as cancer, heart disease and mental health, enabling him to better understand and identify solutions for communities most in need. His study of cancer rates in Native Americans in North Carolina was especially important, as his father died of cancer.

When asked about the priorities in his new role, Bell said “My role as chair is to guide the evolution of the organization, support the team, be their advocate and mentor and help them achieve their goals. I believe we have a great opportunity to expand our expertise across all disciplines and disease states, bring in more research funding, provide a resource to the University and work with industry and state public health agencies to create partnerships that can be a benefit to the state and nation. I am excited about the opportunity to be part of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and hope that my background, energy, and unique expertise will benefit each of the three programs.”

“We enthusiastically welcome Ronny back to Carolina”, said Dean Angela Kashuba, “As the only public Pharmacy School in the state, we have recommitted ourselves to serving the people of North Carolina. When you put together Ronny’s achievements in both academia and research, and his commitment to shining a brighter lens on public health and disease disparities in rural and underserved communities in the state, I cannot think of anyone more well suited to take on this new role in our School, which aligns so well with our mission.”

Latest News

Comments are closed.