N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 6/ NO. 3 / SUMMER 2023    

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

Partners in Health for North Carolina
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N.C. A&T Chancellor Martin Sr.North Carolina A&T State University recently announced a new memorandum of understanding with a key community partner, Cone Health – the largest private healthcare system in this state’s Piedmont Triad, with five hospitals and four medical centers across four counties.

It was an MOU long in the making, but incredibly timely for two institutions with a shared commitment to improving public health and advancing the human condition in our region.

At North Carolina A&T, our John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences is the best illustration of that commitment. Now the largest of A&T’s nine colleges with 2,703 students in 2022-23, the Hairston College is adding critical new programs that will significantly enhance its impact, beginning with a Physician Assistant master’s program and following that, a doctorate in Nursing Practice.

A&T’s School of Nursing is already a vibrant part of that college, and a fantastic partner for Cone. As a Cone administrator once told me, Cone would hire every graduate of that program if they could to fill the always-strong demand for nurses in their hospital and centers. Most of those students study at the state-of-the-art Union Square health sciences campus that A&T shares with Cone Health and two other partners.

But that’s not the only way in which we collaborate to solve health challenges. When COVID showed up 3 years ago, we partnered with Cone to become the first campus in the University of North Carolina System to launch a comprehensive COVID diagnostic and vaccination clinic. It became a vital resource for the underserved community of East Greensboro and helped A&T to persist throughout the pandemic without ever having to pivot to online-only instruction due to rising infection rates.

A&T has launched a center that will help us to answer more questions about public health, the Center for Integrative Health Disparities and Equity Research. It will be a tremendous resource for Cone and its own Center for Health Equity, which recently announced an ambitious goal to address life expectancy gaps between different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic populations in its service area: Cone plans to close those gaps by five years over the next five years.

As America’s population ages and individuals of all backgrounds seek healthier and longer lives, the health care community will seek answers to the many challenges that stand in the way of meeting that need. The North Carolina A&T / Cone Health MOU will serve as a model for collaboration that helps ensure all people benefit from such progress, not just those born in the right zip code or of a select racial or ethnic background. All people.

The iconic British leader Winston Churchill once said, “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” I thank our partners at Cone for their commitment to that very idea and for their eagerness to join hands with A&T in expanding a rich relationship that has already benefitted so many.

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

Students in the A&T School of Nursing learn in a simulated treatment room at the Union Square Campus.
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Economic Impact: $2.4 Billion and Growing
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Click here to access the complete economic impact study and related information.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s impact on the state economy is growing as quickly as the university itself, according to a new study that quantifies that economic footprint at a whopping $2.4 billion.

The total represents growth of 63% since fiscal year 2018, the source of data for a similar report released in 2020. Based on FY2022 data, the new report shows the university’s impact is equivalent to supporting 17,337 jobs and generates $1.42 billion in added income for the state economy.

“While North Carolina A&T’s value to the economy of North Carolina is larger than simply its economic impact, understanding the dollars-and-cents value is an important asset to understanding the university’s value as a whole,” wrote Cephas Naanwaab, Ph.D., and Alfredo Romero, Ph.D., the economists who produced the study. Both are associate professors in A&T’s Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics, though Romero is now serving in Washington as a senior economist for the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.

Naanwaab and Romero’s analysis focused on six different sectors: university operations spending, research expenditures, construction spending, visitor expenditures, student spending and the impact of A&T alumni. The study calculated “substantial economic impacts in terms of output, value‐added, labor income and employment,” primarily in the Piedmont-Triad region.

The impact of A&T alumni is the single largest contributor to the university’s economic footprint. In FY2022, alumni of A&T generated $702 million in added income for the North Carolina economy, resulting in impact of $1.2 billion across the state.

As it expands in research activities and graduation of doctoral students, A&T is working toward reclassification in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education from its current designation as an R2-High Research Activity institution to R1-Very High Research Activity. The new study estimates that achieving that classification could boost the university’s impact to just over $3 billion.

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Lab Report 

A Link Between Poor Nutrition & Heart Health
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A&T researchers revealed a link in Black student athletes between high blood pressure and caloric/micronutrient deficiencies.

A North Carolina A&T research group has published the first study of Black student athletes to identify a link between hypertension and low-energy availability – a study that could have significant impact on the estimated 80,000 Black students in collegiate athletics.

Researchers recruited a group of Black student athletes at A&T to participate in the study, about 60% of whom had high blood pressure. It was the first study with an all-Black cohort looking at nutritional deficiencies and cardiovascular health. Researchers learned that nearly 80% of those with elevated blood pressure were both calorically and micronutrient deficient.

It was unexpected finding, in part because Division 1 athletes, generally speaking, are in great physical condition with significant caloric intake. The athletes in the study were no different. Researcher see a link between the number and quality of calories the athletes take in each day and their heightened blood pressure – a link that could have life and death consequences.

“Black athletes are shown to have a cardiovascular disease risk 10 times greater than their white counterparts, with hypertension being the most prevalent,” said principal investigator Troy Purdom, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology in A&T’s John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences. “The elevated risk of hypertension puts athletes at an increased risk of sudden cardiac death as well as experiencing about a two times greater risk of hypertension development in a five-year follow up.”

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New Leadership for Mission-Critical Needs
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As North Carolina A&T continues to grow and develop, the university is adding to its leadership ranks to address the many challenges and opportunities that come with maturation. Here are three prominent new leaders hired in 2023.

Nicole B. Burwell,Nicole B. Burwell, Ph.D., Director, Physician Assistant Program. Perhaps the university’s most talked-about new academic program over the past year has been its master’s degree in physician assistant studies, even though it has yet to enroll its first student. In Burwell, the university chose a program director whose history of leadership shows she’s up to the task of launching the new program, which will receive its first student applications in 2023-24.

Burwell is president of the PA Education Association, the national organization representing PA educational programs. She has served as director of pre-clerkship for Stanford University’s PA program and as director of clinical education for the George Washington University program.

She earned her doctorate in nutritional sciences from Howard Unversity and her M.S. in Physician Assistant studies at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Timothy A. MinorTimothy A. Minor, MPA, Interim Vice Chancellor, Strategic Partnerships. Minor, the former chief advancement officer for the University of North Carolina System, started in this new position in January.

As a member of Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.’s Cabinet, Minor will cultivate, steward and help sustain the university’s rapidly expanding portfolio of external partnerships with a broad range of businesses and corporations across North Carolina and around the country. Most are reflected in A&T’s outstanding growth in external research funding and in philanthropy to the university.

At the UNC System, Minor served as staff lead for the Board of Governors’ expanded work with historically Black universities, including A&T. He also served from 2008 – 2013 as A&T’s associate vice chancellor for University Advancement.

Alexander Yin

Alexander Yin, Ph.D., Vice Provost, Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.
At the University of Vermont, Yin served as assistant provost of institutional research and assessment. In that role, he helped develop the institution’s plan to attain the R1-Very High Research designation that the Carnegie Foundation bestows on America’s top universities.

He will factor significantly in A&T’s planning around that same goal and in providing critical data to support execution of the university’s new strategic plan, as well as support data-driven enhancements to A&T’s operations.

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Data Points
Data Points
“Enrollment at A&T’s fast-growing John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences has increased by more than 40% since 2018, while its number of graduates has grown by one-fifth. The underlying numbers here offer insight on how large a contribution North Carolina A&T’s largest college is making to North Carolinians’ health.”

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart

Todd Hurst Simmons

Sandra M. Brown
Kevin Scalf

Yvonne L. Halley

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a land-grant university that is ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral University: High Research Activity.

N.C. A&T does not discriminate against any person on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@ncat.edu.

N.C. A&T is an AA/EEO employer, and it is an ADA compliant institution; thus, facilities are designed to provide accessibility to individuals with physical disabilities.

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