North Carolina is one of the world's leading centers for medicine, biotechnology and public health research. Since its inception, the Research Triangle Park (RTP) has become the largest research park in the US, currently employing nearly 40,000 people. RTP and nearby research universities have drawn companies like Bayer, Biogen Idec, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Monsanto, and Wyeth to the area, as well as major institutions such as the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Further indications of the state's prominence are that seven Nobel Laureates in chemistry or medicine have called North Carolina home with four of them doing their prize-winning research in North Carolina.
Unfortunately, North Carolina's record on health issues hasn't always been so positive. North Carolina's eugenics program was one of the most active in the nation. The North Carolina General Assembly authorized legalized sterilization in 1929, and by 1977, when the General Assembly formally abolished the program, over 7,600 people had been sterilized. In 2013 a compensation program was created for the victims of the eugenics program.
North Carolina’s lowest infant mortality, 7.0 per 1,000 live births, occurred in 2010 and 2013. The infant mortality rate for 2014, the most recent available, was slightly higher at 7.1 per 1,000.
North Carolina ranks high in immunization coverage of children and low in prevalence of excessive drinking. Since 1990 there has been a 42% drop in cardiovascular death – but the disparity in health status by education has increased by 13% in the past 10 years.