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WSSU, Novant partner to diversify healthcare profession

‘It Takes a Village’ youth summit is Sept. 30.

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is partnering with Novant Health on a youth summit to encourage more minority students to pursue careers in medicine and healthcare. The summit, “It Takes a Village to Raise a Healthcare Professional,” will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Albert H. Anderson Center on the WSSU campus.

“Winston-Salem State University has been a great partner for us, and we have a shared goal of creating awareness to show young people how they can be successful in this field,” said Yvonne Dixon, MSN, MHA, BSN, RN, director of health equity at Novant Health. “This is the third such youth summit event we have supported because we see the need to highlight careers in medicine, to educate and train the next generation of healthcare workers.”

At the summit, students will learn the pathway to medical school and other opportunities in healthcare, including scholarships and grants information. There will be breakout sessions, panel discussions, tours of emergency medical cruisers and free cardiovascular (blood pressure, A1C, glucose) screenings for students, parents and community members. Lunch will be provided, but registration is required.

Keynote speakers for the event include Dr. Augustus Parker, an obstetrician and gynecologist previously at Novant Health who raised a family of doctors, and Charles Johnson, who created the organization 4Kira4Moms following his wife’s death after giving birth to advocate for better maternal care for Black women.

Maternal care for Black women has made headline news with the difficult delivery of tennis star Serena Williams’ first child and the recent tragic death of Olympic sprinter Tori Bowie, who died from childbirth complications. Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, with 80% of maternal deaths being preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, Black infants are two to three times more likely to die within their first year.

Improving access to prenatal care and mitigating unconscious bias are part of a long-term effort at Novant Health to address disparities in maternal and infant health. Speakers throughout the day will address maternal health and other disparities impacting minority communities.  

“WSSU’s department of health, physical education and sport studies (HPSS) is leading the partnership with Novant Health and will present information on maternal and infant health,” said Marian Anderson-Booker, HPSS research project coordinator.

Additionally, WSSU’s School of Health Sciences and other healthcare-related departments will set up display tables while WSSU’s behavioral health and community unit will provide the screenings.

Students interested in learning more can register for the youth summit via the QR code on the flyer.

Media contacts:
Kimberly Harrington
Director of communications and media relations, WSSU
704-294-9431 cell
Bonnie Davis
Senior corporate PR specialist, Novant Health

About Winston-Salem State University: Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region, and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

About Novant Health: Novant Health is an integrated network of hospitals, physician clinics and outpatient facilities that delivers a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to communities in North Carolina and South Carolina. The Novant Health network consists of more than 1,900 physicians and over 36,000 team members who provide care at more than 800 locations, including 16 hospitals and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics. In 2022, Novant Health provided more than $1.5 billion in community benefit, including financial assistance and services. 

For more information, visit Follow Novant Health on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

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