Bettering the Health of the People

W. Reece Berryhill, the UNC School of Medicine, and the North Carolina Good Health Movement

By William W. McLendon, M.D., Floyd W. Denny Jr., William B. Blythe

Bettering the Health of the People

496 pp., 7.25 x 10.25, 100 illus., appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8078-3195-3
    Published: February 2008

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Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library and the Medical Foundation of North Carolina, Inc.

W. Reece Berryhill, M.D., (1900-1979) was the founding dean from 1941 to 1964 of the M.D.-granting medical school and today's medical school-hospitals complex at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This biography documents and personalizes the remarkable transformation in daily life, medical education, and health care in North Carolina during the twentieth century. Berryhill's life story is inseparable from the story of how the state mobilized its citizens and resources in the Good Health Movement of the 1940s and 1950s to address the deplorable health status of its citizens (its young men had the worst rejection rate for military service in World War II of any state).

While celebrating the contributions of Berryhill and many other public-spirited individuals dedicated to addressing North Carolinians' need for more doctors and more hospitals, this work is also an urgent challenge to address the still unmet need for more insurance--that is, universal access to needed health care for all citizens, regardless of ability to pay.

About the Authors

William W. McLendon is professor emeritus of pathology and laboratory medicine.
For more information about William W. McLendon, M.D., visit the Author Page.

the late Floyd W. Denny Jr. was professor and chair emeritus of pediatrics.
For more information about Floyd W. Denny Jr., visit the Author Page.

he late William B. Blythe was professor emeritus of medicine, all at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about William B. Blythe, visit the Author Page.


"Examines the transformation of health care in North Carolina during the 20th century with a focus on medical education at UNC and its founding father, W. Reece Berryhill, MD."--UNC Health Talk

“Provides a history of past successes and a call for continuing efforts to improve the availability and quality of health care in North Carolina.”--Metro Magazine

"Makes an interesting contribution to the growing scholarship on southern medical history."--The Journal of Southern History

"Reece Berryhill's life story provides an invaluable framework for understanding the history of the education of health care professionals in North Carolina."--John L. Sanders, former director, Institute of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Reece Berryhill and the UNC Medical School he developed contributed substantially to moving North Carolina from a laggard to a leader in health care among the states in the late twentieth century. The authors provide a uniquely intimate and informed description of important elements of this advance in health care from the perspective of Dean Berryhill and the School of Medicine of UNC at Chapel Hill."--Stuart Bondurant, former dean, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill