Sarah Thach Receives Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Distinguished Fellow Award

CARY — The Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation is pleased to announce that Sarah Thach, MPH, Assistant Director of the UNC Gillings School’s Masters of Public Health Program, and Adjunct Faculty with the Public Health Leadership Program at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has received the 2019 Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Award for her exceptional representation as an alumnus of the ideals of the fellows program.

“Sarah exemplifies the spirit of the Jim Bernstein Fellows program by being an active, engaged and enthusiastic champion for quality rural healthcare,” said Anne Thomas, President and CEO of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation. “She is aggressively putting her passions for rural health into action today.”

As a Bernstein Fellow, Sarah worked at the Mountain Area Health Education Center, in the Center for Healthy Aging. For her project, Sarah piloted models for primary care and public health collaborations to address environmental factors affecting the health of the aging population in Western North Carolina.

Through her work in the Bernstein program and with the Gillings School, Ms. Thach has promoted rural healthcare workforce pipeline development, training, recruitment, and retention of physicians in underserved rural Western North Carolina; developed models to help primary care physicians care for geriatric patients; trained health educators and broad-based health partnerships in assessing and addressing community health needs; and coordinated rural clinical training for health profession students and created faculty development for community-based physician-teachers.

Sarah has worked to promote community capacity and access to care in rural communities most of her career, and now she is responsible for placing MPH students in western NC communities and mentoring them. Sarah has published peer-reviewed articles about rural medical workforce development and has presented at national public health forums. Sarah’s extensive knowledge of WNC has brought her a reputation of a great resource of practical best practices, what works and what doesn’t work, and is the go-to person for prevention issues and implementation.

About the Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Distinguished Fellow Award
The Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Distinguished Fellow Award recognizes graduating Bernstein Fellows who exemplify the values lived by Jim Bernstein: everyone has a right to care; care should be delivered in a respectful, efficient, and effective manner; and healthcare belongs to the community it serves. For more information about the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation, as well as the Jim Bernstein Fellows Program, please visit


Photos of Ms. Thach accepting the award can be found on the FHLI website.

For more information, contact:Marni Schribman, Director of Communications & Public RelationsFoundation for Health Leadership & Innovation