Wake Forest University School of Medicine Awarded more than $1.1 Million from The Duke Endowment

March 1, 2023

Wake Forest University School of Medicine received four grants totaling more than $1.1 million from The Duke Endowment to help improve health in communities across North Carolina. 

Illustrating The Duke Endowment’s commitment to improving the health of citizens in North and South Carolina, the four grants focus on projects that enhance patient care and promote better access to health care options. 

The “Health Care Connection Access to Care” project was awarded $450,000 to broaden access to health care among low-income and uninsured residents of Wilkes County. The project aims to decrease hospital readmission rates and improve health outcomes and continues a long-standing relationship between the Endowment and Wilkes County. 

A team of two Wake Forest University School of Medicine faculty members, Jason Stopyra, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine, and Simon Mahler, MD, professor of emergency medicine, were awarded $321,000 for a three-year project to use implementation science – the study of methods to incorporate evidence-based research findings into clinical use – to help reduce cardiac emergency disparities in rural areas such as Wilkes County. A virtual telehealth process will quickly connect paramedics with physicians to evaluate patients who may be experiencing a heart attack and enable enhanced care to be provided in an ambulance.

A grant of $100,000 was awarded to “The Healthy Guilford Coalition” to establish a new Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas Coalition. Bringing together Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist High Point Medical Center and Cone Health, community-based nonprofits, and the Guilford County Health Department, this project will create positive lasting changes in social determinants of health and contribute to overall healthy lifestyles in Guilford County. The Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas initiative was launched by The Duke Endowment in 2015, helping communities in both North and South Carolina address health concerns like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Suzanne Danhauer, PhD, professor of social sciences and health policy, received $296,000 for a three-year project to enhance well-being and decrease burnout in medical school faculty. The project will address the impact of COVID-19 on the mental and physical health of physicians and other faculty and staff by providing methods to honor self-care and create a sense of community. 

“We appreciate The Duke Endowment’s partnership in addressing the health care priorities in our communities served by Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist,” said Lisa Marshall, chief philanthropy officer at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and vice president of philanthropy and alumni relations. “The grants will provide much-needed support for our caregivers and team of physicians training our next generation of health care providers.”

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $4 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

Media contacts: 

Jenna Kurzyna, jkurzyna@wakehealth.edu
Joe McCloskey, jmcclosk@wakehealth.edu