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North Carolina Alliance

The North Carolina Alliance for Health Professions Diversity (The North Carolina Alliance) aims to reduce disparities in health status and healthcare by increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the healthcare workforce in the state of North Carolina, thereby creating a future healthcare workforce that is increasingly proficient in cross-racial and cross-cultural interactions.

During the official Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony on March 27, 2015, Dr. Sullivan and senior officials from nineteen North Carolina colleges, universities, statewide organizations, as well as state and local health agencies, gathered to formally recognize this statewide alliance. The ceremony was held on the Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) campus. Dr. Peggy Valentine, Dean of Health Sciences at WSSU and Ms. Jackie Wynn, Associate Director at the NC AHEC co-lead The North Carolina Alliance.

NC Alliance MOU signing

North Carolina is among the most diverse states in the nation, and ranks ninth with respect to percent of African Americans (22 percent). African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos (8.9%), American Indians/Alaska Natives (1.6%), and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (0.1%) constitute 32.6 percent of the state’s population. But in North Carolina, minorities constitute only one out of six health professionals.

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and primary care providers are the two professions with diversity comparable to the statewide population (around 30 percent non-white). Nearly four out of five minority health care providers are located in metropolitan counties, thus emphasizing the need to bolster rural health care access. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA/HHS) has designated 134 primary care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) statewide, which encompass a population of over 1.2 million residents. Projections anticipate the need for 184 primary care providers added to the workforce to the remove the shortage designation.

The Founding Members of the North Carolina Alliance include:

Appalachian State University
Bennett College

Campbell University

Davidson Community College

East Carolina University

Elizabeth City State University

Elon University

Fayetteville State University

Forsyth County Department of Public Health

High Point University

Johnson C. Smith University

N.C. Area Health Education Center

North Carolina Central University

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

St. Augustine’s University

University of North Carolina Greensboro

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Western Carolina University

Winston-Salem State University

History & Activities

The North Carolina Alliance was originally co-founded by Tom Bacon and Jacqueline Wynn of North Carolina Area Health Education Center and Peggy Valentine of Winston-Salem State University. Through this partnership, the first NC Health Professions Diversity Conference was held on March 31 - April 1, 2008 in Greensboro, NC. Over 150 health professionals, educators, policy makers and legislators attended. The conference produced a number of recommendations to increase the representation of diverse students in health professions programs.

One of the key results of the conference was the formation of a steering committee with representatives from various health professions schools, the community college system, and local health organizations. The group engaged in a strategic planning process in 2010 and meets on a regular basis to dialogue on issues that affect diversity. The second North Carolina Health Professions Diversity Conference was held August 29 - 30, 2012 in Greensboro and over 200 participants attended.

For more information about The North Carolina Alliance’s plans and activities, please contact Dr. Peggy Valentine or Ms. Jackie Wynn.