Surry County August 2021

Population
73,489

County Seat
Dobson

Median Income
$43,597

Population Density Designation
Rural

In Surry County, we started the day at the Surry Medical Ministries Clinic. We joined Surry Medical Ministries President and Director, Nancy Dixon; Medical Director, David Dixon; and other staff members to talk about how the clinic is adapting to COVID-19 challenges.

Surry Medical Ministries is a community-based, community-supported, primary health clinic largely staffed by local volunteers. Their healthcare providers currently serve about 1,000 low-income and uninsured people. The number of patients they see has increased significantly with the help of telehealth services.

“When COVID started, we realized how important telehealth was going to be,” Nancy said. As the migrant farm workers’ season began, the clinic knew that virtual support would be a critical bridge for providers to securely connect with the community. Surry Communications, the local broadband provider in the area, rushed to outfit two local farms with fiber internet within weeks.

The clinic’s staff also worked tirelessly to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics with transportation for those in need. They also offered COVID-19 testing, support for those in quarantine, and educational information for non-English speaking residents. “Until we realize that everyone is part of our community and we have to increase access for everyone,” Nancy noted, “this will be a repeating refrain.”

We then met with Dr. David Shockley, the President of Surry Community College, to discuss student potential, relationship building, and the power of networks and giving back to the community. The two-year college hosts the Surry-Yadkin Works Apprenticeship Program, where high school students gain valuable real-world experience, educational credits, and financial aid.

The program sets students up for success from early on. Shockley said, “It changes our community and changes our lives.” The college’s apprenticeship program offers opportunities for students to gain their Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate and jump start their career in healthcare, right in their own backyard.

With thanks to contributor Bridgette Cyr

The Community in Action

Meet David Shockley

David Shockley has served as both President of Surry Community College and the President of the North Carolina Community College Presidents Association since 2011. In 2017, he was named as the Wells Fargo North Carolina Community College President of the Year.

Shockley is on the board of Northern Regional Hospital, one of two hospital systems in the area. Both are ranked within the top 100 regional hospitals in the nation and work closely with the students enrolled in three nearby educational systems.

U39702, 10/21