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WSSU to host town hall, conference on the impact and recovery of COVID-19 among NC counties

Winston-Salem State University’s HBCU Research Consortium Team, in collaboration with the NC Counts Coalition, will host a two-day program on the impact of COVID-19 among counties in North Carolina.

The first event is a virtual town hall meeting titled, “Inform to Empower.” It will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on March 21 and is designed to inform and empower communities on how to rebuild post COVID-19. Presenters at the conference include Michelle Laws, founder of Symbiotic Strategies Consulting Services; Joshua Swift, health director, Forsyth County Department of Public Health; and Angela D. Brown, program coordinator, FaithHealth-Community Engagement, Atrium Health/Wake Forest Baptist.

The second event is an in-person Dissemination Conference to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 22 at WSSU’s Albert H. Anderson Center, located at 601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Winston-Salem. The focus will be resilience, recovery and research in addressing a comprehensive approach to the various aspects of COVID-19 in North Carolina. Day 2 will also include continental breakfast, roundtable discussions, panel discussions, lunch and keynotes.

Presenters at the conference include Laws; Dawn Blagrove executive director of Emancipation NC; Deborah Maxwell, first female president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP; and Cornell Wright, health equity advisor, General Dynamics Information Technology’s Federal Health Sector.

Researchers from WSSU and other designated HBCUs and UNC institutions received a grant to collect data from households in N.C. counties to assess the impact of COVID-19 in terms of health, economics and social well-being. WSSU was assigned 13 counties in which to conduct surveys. Results of the data collected from those surveys will be discussed during the Dissemination Conference.

The conference will also include roundtable discussions on the following topics:

  • Community safety – WSSU Chief of Police Amir Henry and Winston-Salem Police Chief William Penn Jr.
  • Domestic violence – Bernetta Thigpen, Piedmont regional director of the NC Counsel for Women;
  • Social determinants of health – Sherita Sutton, assistant director, Forsyth County Department of Public Health; and Jasmine Harris of the Forsyth County Department of Health;
  • Mental health – Dr. David Mount, founder of the Mind, Body Institute, social justice advocate and clinical psychologist;
  • Maternal health – Karida Giddings, Access to Healthcare program coordinator of NC Black Alliance;
  • Environmental health – Brayndon Stafford, environmental justice coordinator of NC Black Alliance, and Chad Martin, environmental justice program strategist of NC Black Alliance;
  • Advocacy – Liana Adrong, executive director of Montagnard Dega Association and the Montagnard American Organization;
  • Civic engagement – Correll McRae of NC Counts;
  • Resilience and recovery – Dorrina Hines of NC Counts; and
  • Education- Dr. James E. Ford, executive director Center for Racial Equity in Education (CREED).

Health and wellness vendors and community organizations are invited to attend in person and display information of their services at the conference. 

Both events are free to attend, but registration is required. Click this link to attend.


About the HBCU Health Equity Data Consortium
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services developed the HBCU Health Equity Data Consortium (HEDC) to assess the differential impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color. The HBCU HEDC is comprised of the following institutions: North Carolina A&T State University (central hub), Johnson C. Smith University, Elizabeth City State University, Winston-Salem State University, Shaw University, North Carolina Central University, Fayetteville State University, UNC Pembroke, Appalachian State University and Western Carolina University. The Ancillary Members are the State Center for Health Statistics (SCHS) and UNC Gilling’s School of Public Health.


About NC Counts Coalition

NC Counts Coalition is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to building a healthy, just, and equitable North Carolina through cross-sector partnerships that advance systemic solutions for communities facing systemic barriers, including BIPOC communities, LGBTQ+, low wealth, immigrant, and other communities.



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