Dr. William Carter (Bill) Jenkins, alumnus and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, died Feb. 17 in Charleston, S.C., at the age of 73. Throughout his life, Dr. Jenkins was a staunch advocate for minority health and witness against racism.
Dr. Jenkins’ passing was especially poignant for many at the Gillings School, given its proximity to the School’s 40th-anniversary Minority Health Conference on Feb. 22. Dr. Jenkins was a founder of the conference, an occasional speaker and a decades-long attendee and supporter.
Before returning to UNC-Chapel Hill, where he co-taught a spring seminar course from 2014 to 2017, Dr. Jenkins was professor of public health sciences at Morehouse College and associate director of Morehouse’s Research Center on Health Disparities.
He previously had founded Morehouse College’s Public Health Sciences Institute which, together with another program he founded, Project IMHOTEP, has been a source for recruiting underrepresented minorities to the public health profession.
Dr. Jenkins began his career in 1967 as one of the first African-Americans to join the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He served as a statistician in the National Center of Health Statistics and then become its first Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
Beginning in 1980, Dr. Jenkins worked with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention. He also managed the Participant Health Benefits Program, which assured medical services to the survivors of the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. In 1997, Jenkins helped to obtain a presidential apology for the study and, in 2002, produced a documentary video with study survivors.Friday Letter Submission