Forsyth County August 2021

Population
378,469

County Seat
Winston-Salem

Median Income
$51,569

Population Density Designation
Urban

We kicked off our visit to Forsyth County with a lunch discussion with leaders from Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) and Crosby Scholars. We talked about the future role and relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and of WSSU in particular to the Winston community.

A member of the UNC system founded in 1892, WSSU has long made education accessible to Black students who would otherwise not be afforded the opportunity. It is consistently ranked among the top HBCUs in the nation for social mobility and value and was recently honored as the top historically Black nursing school in the country.

After lunch, we met with WSSU Chancellor Dr. Elwood Robinson and members of his leadership team to talk about addressing community issues. Micha James, a Blue Cross NC onsite coordinator at Wake Forest Baptist Health and a WSSU graduate, raised the issue of historical disinvestment in the city’s Black communities, noting how vital it is to invest not only in Black college and universities, but within individual communities as well. “When you know better, you do better,” James said.

Also in attendance was Mona Lovett, President & CEO of the Crosby Scholars, who addressed how the program prepares students in grades 6-12 for college through a series of workshops strengthening academic skills, financial literacy, and personal growth. With the support of many partners, Crosby Scholars now serves more than 11,600 students per year.

The afternoon wrapped up at the Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem, where we met with Dr. Susan Wente, Wake Forest University’s newly named president, among other leaders. The group toured the collaborative space, including a state-of-the-art simulated ICU training room where students practice skills on a wide range of realistic mannequins who can simulate many ailments.

Dr. Wente was drawn to Wake Forest University due to its strong academic medical centers and medical schools. With a background based in both science and academia, she has a perspective in potential partnerships rooted in creating environments where “people and communities can thrive, prosper, discover their passions, and make meaningful contributions to society.” We enjoyed learning how she hopes to continue expanding healthcare not only in Winston-Salem, but across the state of North Carolina.

With thanks to contributor Bridgette Cyr

The Community in Action

Meet Dr. Elwood Robinson

Dr. Elwood Robinson has served as Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University since 2015. Prior to this role, he was Provost and Vice-President of Cambridge College. He earned a degree in psychology from NC Central University, and later a master’s degree in the field from Fisk University in Tennessee. After completing a pre-doctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center, performing rotations in neuropsychology, psychiatric inpatient and behavioral medicine and health psychology, he earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Pennsylvania State University. He later completed his clinical training as a research associate at Duke University Medical Center. Active in professional and civic organizations, Robinson has received numerous awards and honors over the course of his career. A former National Institutes of Health Fellow, he has received the Sigma Xi Award, the Omega Psi Phi Founder’s Award, an Image Award from the NAACP, and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

U39702, 10/21