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People briefs

For immediate use

March 7, 2007

North Carolina Health Careers Access Program
awarded grant from the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation

The Carolina-based North Carolina Health Careers Access Program has been awarded a one-time $35,000 grant by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. In part, this award will support evaluation efforts of the organization’s Science Enrichment Preparation program.

This academically rigorous eight-week summer enrichment program aims to increase students’ preparedness for entry into graduate and health professional programs. The Health Careers Access Program (NC-HCAP) is conducting a research study, The Science Enrichment Preparation Program Tracking Study, to determine whether student performance in the enrichment program predicts improved undergraduate academic performance and admittance into graduate and health professional programs.

NC-HCAP is an inter-institutional program of the UNC system designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities or other individuals from educationally or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, who are educated, trained and employed in the health professions.

“We feel that this pipeline program has made a significant impact toward increasing minority and disadvantaged student representation in the graduate/health professional programs and ultimately increasing the number of practitioners providing culturally competent health care, particularly to the underserved,” said Patrena Benton Majette, interim NC-HCAP executive director and principal investigator for the study.

Founded in 1930, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation is a privately endowed philanthropy located in New York City. The foundation supports programs designed to improve the education of health professionals in the interest of the health of the public and to enhance the representation of minorities in the health professions.

For more information about the NC-HCAP, visit

American studies professor, Rachel Willis,
wins statewide service-learning award

Dr. Rachel Willis recently received the 2007 Robert L. Sigmon Award during the ninth-annual North Carolina Campus Compact Service-Learning Conference.

The award is presented each year to a faculty or staff member in North Carolina who has made significant contributions toward furthering the practice of service-learning. It is named for North Carolinian Robert L. Sigmon, considered one of the pioneers in the national service-learning field. 

Willis, an associate professor of American Studies at UNC, began integrating service-learning into her courses in the late 1980s.  She was the first faculty adviser to the APPLES Service-Learning Program, a student-led service-learning initiative started at UNC in 1991. In 2000 she won the Bryan Public Service Award for helping to found the Carolina Center for Public Service to engage and support faculty, staff and students at UNC in meeting the needs of North Carolina. Over the years, her research and service-learning efforts have contributed to the passage of Smart Start Legislation to improve child care and to improvements in the sock factory industry, transportation in the Triangle and disability access on the 16 UNC campuses.   

Dr. Patricia Sullivan, chancellor of UNC-Greensboro and member of the NC Campus Compact Executive Board, presented the award to Willis during a Feb. 21 ceremony.

North Carolina Campus Compact is a coalition of colleges and universities collaborating to increase campus-wide participation in community and public service. 

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NC-HCAP contact: Renee Harris King, (919) 966-2264 or
NC Campus Compact contact: Dr. Lisa Keyne, (336) 278-7278 or
News Services contact: Becky Oskin, (919) 962-8596 or