Wayne County July 2022

Population
125,789

County Seat
Goldsboro

Median Income
$44,416

Population Density Designation
Rural

As we arrived at Wayne Community College (WCC) in Goldsboro, the first thing we saw was the mobile health clinic for Wayne Action Teams for Community Health (WATCH). The WATCH mobile health clinic meets – and serves – the uninsured in Wayne County in their neighborhoods and community gathering places.

Community collaborations that improve social determinants of health were the focus of our visit to Wayne County, so it was appropriate to see the WATCH mobile clinic first.

Dr. Patty Pfeiffer, the president of WCC, opened up the community conversation portion of our visit by declaring, “Welcome to Wayne Community College. We care deeply about the health outcomes of all of our residents — and this mission goes beyond just our students, staff and faculty.”

Blue Cross NC President and CEO Dr. Tunde Sotunde thanked Dr. Pfeiffer for hosting us and noted that the spirit of collaboration in Wayne County aligns with Blue Cross NC’s understanding of transforming health care in North Carolina. Sotunde ended his remarks with a simple declaration: “None of us can change the health and wellness of our state alone.”

Pam Anderson, Executive Director for Wayne Initiative for School Health, Ken Derksen, Executive Director of Community Engagement and Student & Family Support for Wayne County Public Schools, and Dr. David Tayloe, Jr. of Goldsboro Pediatrics, opened up the conversation about K–12 education and health care.

Wayne County Schools provides nurses in every K–12 school— an essential benefit according to Dr. Tayloe who stressed how important it is to have this touchpoint on health and wellness for students given that his practice is the only pediatrics practice in the county. Derksen went on to say, “When it comes to the health of our students, we simply cannot do it alone. All of us in this space work together to implement strategies that will re-engage our families on health-related issues to create a better environment for our students.”

Family engagement matters, in part, due to a nearly 30% poverty rate among kids in Wayne County, added Dr. Tayloe.

The conversation around whole family health and collaboration continued when Wayne UNC Health Care showcased the UNC ConNEXTion program. ConNEXTion consists of paramedics who provide home health visits and symptom management at no additional cost for folks who have recently been treated for an issue that requires ongoing monitoring and/or treatment.

“This program lets us use what we have to serve those who need it most,” said Donna Wimberly of Wayne UNC Health Care. “We had one fellow who met our paramedics at a country store on a lawn mower. We literally go where our patients are and meet them face-to-face. It personalizes health care for them and the data shows it significantly lowers the chances of readmittance to the hospital.”

Sotunde immediately referenced it as a best practice.

The theme of collaboration continued as Billy Tart, the nursing department chair for Wayne Community College, pointed out that Wayne UNC Health Care paid for an extra faculty member to help grow the nursing program while also providing clinical spots, surplus medical equipment and more.

Our conversation around health care in Wayne County drew to a close with WATCH executive director Sissy Lee Elmore walking us through their work to provide a free medical “home” for the uninsured. “One in nine Wayne County residents have been served by WATCH during our time operating here,“ noted Elmore.

Elmore closed out her conversation with a lesson that encapsulated our visit: “Knowing the patient — from knowing their needs to knowing their family to knowing whether or not they are out of work — is what makes all of the difference when it comes to this work.”

Meet Dr. Algie Gatewood

Dr. Algie Gatewood is only the fourth President to lead Alamance Community College (ACC) since it opened in 1958. During Dr. Gatewood’s tenure at ACC, the college won its largest ever bond referendum – nearly $40 million – in 2018 to fund a number of major capital projects and expansions. The college also secured $16 million in county funding in 2014 to build the Advanced Applied Technology Center. Other notable accomplishments include creating a Biotechnology Center of Excellence, introducing an Early College, facilitating an apprenticeship program, and introducing nearly two dozen new academic programs and articulation agreements with state universities.

U39702, 9/22