Through research and courses, Sanford faculty provide an in-depth understanding of economic, sociological, and political forces that shape health care systems in the U.S. and other countries. Health policy directly affects who receives health care and how, and Sanford provides decision-making tools for students and policy makers.


Academic Overview


Our faculty have produced research and scholarship contribute to the knowledge base for evidence-driven policy around health. They have worked with community partners around North Carolina on health-related issues; designed a community-based program for caregivers of veterans; and provided a variety of evidence-based policy insights during the global pandemic. For example, Kate Bundorf's research focuses on health policy and the economics of healthcare systems. 

PhD in Public Policy

Sample elective courses:

  • Climate Change Economics and Policy
  • International Environmental Policy
  • Collective Action
  • Sustainable Development
  • Environment & Development
  • Energy & Development Global Environmental Health


  • Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development
  • Duke Global Health Institute
  • Duke Law School
  • Duke School of Medicine
  • Duke School of Nursing
  • Fuqua School of Business
  • Margolis Center for Health Policy
  • Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Social Science Research Institute
  • Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

Sample Stories & Research


Student Spotlight

PhD student Marwa AlFakhri is a co-author of the study showing how COVID-19 is magnifying health disparities.

Read the paper

Research spotlight

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed long-standing gaps in the long-term care system: barriers to access, confusing layers of regulation and complex payment systems. 

Read the report

What can you do with a focus on health policy?


Frank Emory PPS'79 

Alumni Story

Frank Emory is executive vice president and chief legal officer for Novant Health, which includes a network of over 30,000 employees and serves over four million patients annually. In this role, he oversees legal and government relations, risk management, corporate audits, and compliance.  

Read Frank's story | Read more alumni stories

Key Partnerships

Duke Aging Center


The Duke Aging Center is a multi-disciplinary hub for promoting healthy aging across the lifespan and managing social and medical complexities in late life.

Duke Global Health Institute


The Duke Global Health Institute brings together knowledge and resources from across the university to address the most critical global health issues of our time.

Margolis Center for Health Policy


The Margolis Center for Health Policy aims to improve health, health equity, and the value of health care through practical, innovative, and evidence-based policy solutions. 


Let's Connect

Interested in pursuing a degree with a focus on Health policy? Great! The admissions page for each program has detailed guidelines, including our contact info. Please reach out!

Explore the 2024 Impact Report