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Read a message from Wesley Burks, MD, CEO of UNC Health and Dean of the UNC School of Medicine.

Dear Colleagues,

Each year, Labor Day is a time of transition, representing the end of summer and a return to school. This year, of course, is unlike any we have ever seen. Your summer vacations have been adjusted, if not cancelled. Now, children are returning to school only virtually, adding to the stress you are already feeling.

The tragic violence we have seen over the last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has resonated across our nation and within our institution, compounding the hurt and pain that we have faced over the last several months. UNC Health is continuing to work towards a truly diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. I invite you to visit this page to learn about the initial work and plans for the UNC Health Executive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council. The events in Wisconsin once again remind us of our urgency to act and create transformational change in our system.

Through all of this, you continue to do outstanding work caring for our patients and navigating our new future with COVID-19. As the pandemic has stretched now into its sixth month, we see less on television and in the news about the heroism of our health care providers. But, the work you continue to do each day is truly heroic.

As we enter this Labor Day weekend, I hope that you will find time to relax and safely spend time with family and loved ones. But first, I wanted to share “Three Good Things,” accomplishments and celebrations from across UNC Health that I do not want to be overshadowed by the daily news of COVID-19.

Chatham Hospital is one of three hospitals nationwide recognized by the American Hospital Association as part of the 2020 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care (EOC) Award. In honoring Chatham, the AHA praised the extensive trainings available to employees, mentorship programs for local students, and partnerships with local non-profits including a developing a food pantry and working in collaboration with local law enforcement to curb misuse of prescribed opioids. We are so proud of the team at Chatham for this recognition and their leadership in promoting health equity.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNC School of Medicine’s research funding increased by more than $24 million during fiscal year 2020 to more than $535 million. This is a great accomplishment during this difficult year, as many labs suspended “normal” operations to focus on research into COVID-19.

UNC Health Alliance, our clinically integrated network, earned top quality performance scores and generated significant savings through participation in Blue Cross NC’s Blue Premier Alternative Payment Model. The Health Alliance will reinvest these savings into supporting patient needs with services such as medical transportation, enhanced case management, and in-home or telehealth services from physicians, dietitians, social workers and nurses.  Congratulations to the entire UNC Health Alliance team as they continue to lead the way in healthy-based care.

There is so much for us to be proud of as we work together to improve the health and well-being of the people of North Carolina. Thank you for all you do each day for our patients and for each other.


Wesley Burks