How We Make A Difference

Brenner FIT Hosted Big Brothers from Winston-Salem State University and Their Little Brothers in Cooking Class

The Brenner FIT Kohl’s Cooks Mobile Kitchen headed to the Winston-Salem chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters Services to serve up healthy recipes and provide nutritional education in June 2019. 

Five ‘Big Brothers’ from Winston-Salem State University showed off their cooking skills with their ‘Little Brothers’ in a free class led by a Brenner FIT chef. 

Brenner FIT, a pediatric program of Wake Forest Baptist Health, educates families on the importance of proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices.

High School Students Received Free Sports Physicals; High School Coaches Received Free CPR and AED Training

High school student-athletes in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system, along with those in the Lexington, High Point and Jamestown areas, received free sports physicals in June 2019 from Wake Forest Baptist Health.

The pre-participation physicals were offered for high school students – including incoming freshmen – who planned to participate in any sport during the 2019-20 school year.

“Each student received a thorough orthopaedic and medical exam by our sports medicine team, which can identify pre-existing health issues and help keep young athletes healthy and safe,” said Christopher Ina, M.A., ATC, Wake Forest Baptist’s manager of athletic training services. 

In addition, many local high school coaches received free CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training in June 2019 from Wake Forest Baptist Health’s team of certified athletic trainers.

Approximately 250 high school coaches from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Lexington Senior High School learned American Heart Association CPR skills and AED use and became certified in these two lifesaving techniques.  

“Emergencies and accidents can happen at any time, not just on the athletic fields, and being prepared and ready to act is the best way to keep our student athletes safe,” Ina said.

Read more about the free sports physicals. Learn more about the free CPR and AED trainings.

Dermatologists Provided Free Skin Cancer Screenings

Dermatologists at Wake Forest Baptist Health provided free skin cancer screenings to the public in May 2019 at Medical Plaza – Country Club in Winston-Salem.

“Skin cancer can affect people of all skin tones, even those with a darker complexion,” said Amy McMichael, M.D., chair of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist. “People with certain traits are more susceptible to developing skin cancer, though. Those with fair skin, blue or green eyes, blonde or red hair and those with a personal or family history of skin cancer are at a heightened risk.” 

According to the American Cancer Society, more skin cancers are diagnosed in the United States each year than all other cancers combined. Despite its prevalence, skin cancer also is the easiest cancer to cure, if diagnosed and treated early.

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Wake Forest Baptist Health Emergency Medicine Physicians Hosted Free Wilderness Medicine Training

On May 30, just before the official start of the 2019 summer season, Wake Forest Baptist’s emergency medicine doctors provided free hands-on wilderness first aid training and offered outdoor safety tips to members of the community at the Fiddlin’ Fish Brewing Company in downtown Winston-Salem. 

The event called “Bandages and Brews: Stayin’ Alive in the Outdoors,” demonstrated how to handle some of the most common and serious outdoor emergencies.

In addition, attendees received practical advice on building a first aid kit, and learned about lightning and drowning, how to treat sprains, strains and fractures, and ways to stop severe bleeding.

Annual Event Raised $329,000 to Support Cancer Patients

The annual Winterlark fundraiser, held in February 2019, to support cancer patients at Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Center was the most successful in its history, raising more than $329,000 for the Cancer Patient Support Program.

The Cancer Patient Support Program offers counseling, patient education, support groups and other services to the community free of charge at the Cancer Center. The program, which began in 1980, has been widely recognized as a model for cancer centers nationwide.

“Winterlark plays a key role in sustaining our Cancer Patient Support Program,” said Lisa Marshall, Wake Forest Baptist Health’s chief philanthropy officer and vice president of philanthropy and alumni relations. “It has been extremely successful for a number of years in part because it gives those in our communities a very direct way to support the compassionate, healing work that goes on at our nationally-recognized Comprehensive Cancer Center.”

The funds raised through the event provide half of the program’s annual operating budget.

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Free Weekly Smoking-Cessation Sessions Offered at Medical School

Quitting smoking is difficult. But getting help doesn’t have to be. Beginning in 2019, free counseling in smoking cessation was available every Monday in downtown Winston-Salem.

These group counseling sessions, part of STOP – Stopping Tobacco by Organizing Peers – is a community program established and run by students at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Health. The meetings were open to all adults; no insurance, registration or appointment required. 

In addition to guidance provided by smoking-cessation coaches and support from others who are trying to quit the habit, STOP participants could receive over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy products (patches, gum, lozenges) free of charge.

The STOP group sessions were held in conjunction with the weekly DEAC clinic, a student-run, physician-staffed free clinic for people who do not have health insurance and do not qualify for government assistance. Individuals did not need to be DEAC patients to join the STOP program.

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Wake Forest Baptist Health Partnered with Novant Health to Create Highland Avenue Primary Care in East Winston

Wake Forest Baptist Health partnered with Novant Health in February 2019 to open a primary care clinic in an east Winston-Salem community traditionally underserved by health care providers.

“This clinic addresses the need for more effective behavioral health care in Forsyth County, while also expanding access to primary care for people who live in this neighborhood. All of us involved in this project recognize that as a community we need to do more for people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, and that the emergency department is not always the best place to receive treatment,” said Richard Lord, M.D., professor and chair of family and community medicine and vice president of population health at Wake Forest Baptist. “Both of our health care systems are committed to this project, and by bringing physical and behavioral health care together, we ensure that those who live in this underserved community have treatment options close to home.”

The Highland Avenue Primary Care Clinic serves patients of all ages and is a low cost clinic, which means patients pay for services on a sliding fee scale, based on their income.

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Wake Forest Baptist Received Grant to Create STEM Program for Middle School Girls

Almost twice as many high school boys as girls plan to major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in college, according to The National Science Board, even though experts predict there won’t be enough people with STEM skills available to fill the engineering and tech jobs coming in the next decade. 

In December 2018, educators at Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Center of Excellence for Research, Teaching and Learning (CERTL), hoped to change that, thanks to a three-year, $164,432 grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s Student STEM Enrichment Program.

The grant supports the creation of a comprehensive STEM satellite program for 40 female middle school students by partnering with Davidson and Surry County Schools. The goal of the program is to improve the students’ knowledge of STEM-based content and improve their academic performance to prepare them for higher-level STEM classes and potential careers in related science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“Young girls still face many obstacles in pursuing education in these historically male-dominated fields, including a lack of female role models and mentors, gender stereotypes and a lack of personal confidence,” said Stanford Hill, Ph.D., director of CERTL. “We hope to help them develop an interest and enthusiasm for science by meeting and working with female scientists and STEM professionals here in Winston-Salem and by participating in educational enrichment opportunities geared to their specific needs.”

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Share the Health Fair Offered Free Screenings and Other Services

Free screenings and other health-related services were available to the public in December 2018, at the 20th annual Share the Health Fair, sponsored by Wake Forest Baptist Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine and the Northwest Area Health Education Center.

Family medicine physicians and specialists, along with medical students, physician assistant students, technicians and other health care professionals were available and Spanish-language interpreters were also on hand. 

A variety of screenings were provided, including glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, vision, glaucoma, HIV/syphilis and mental health. Flu shots were also available. Individuals found to have health issues that required further attention were given referrals and information about additional steps to take. 

The annual event is held at the Downtown Health Plaza in Winston-Salem and serves adults regardless of age, insurance coverage, income level or immigration status. 

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Wake Forest Baptist Hosted Prescription Drug Collection Day

Wake Forest Baptist Health hosted a prescription drug collection day – in conjunction with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – in October 2018 at Piedmont Plaza I in Winston-Salem.
Representatives from Wake Forest Baptist and the Winston-Salem Police Department were on hand to collect unused or expired prescription medications, including pills, capsules and patches, for proper disposal.

“When we first held this event, many people in our community were grateful to have a convenient and safe way to get rid of medications they were no longer using,” said Brittany Anderson, M.D., an anesthesiology resident at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and an organizer of the collection event. “Now, we look forward to helping even more people make sure they keep unused medications away from children who may accidentally take them or others who may intentionally misuse them.”

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Free Student-Run Clinic Moved to Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education

For more than a decade, Wake Forest School of Medicine students, under the supervision of physicians from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, have delivered health care to underserved populations at the DEAC (Delivering Equal Access to Care) Clinic.

The free student-run clinic relocated into the School of Medicine’s Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education, in downtown Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter in October 2018.

“Being involved in this clinic provides hands-on training for those of us who are medical students and reinforces our passion for delivering high-quality health care to those who are underserved,” said Sophie Claudel, third-year medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine and co-director of the DEAC Clinic. “We are so excited to continue our tradition of serving the community, by sharing this new and beautiful space with those who need help the most.”

In 2017, the DEAC Clinic became the first student-run clinic in North Carolina to receive accreditation from the North Carolina Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the network of health care facilities that offer free and affordable health care throughout the state.

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Wake Forest Baptist Burn Center Donated Devices that Help Lower Risk When Using Oxygen

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is the only burn center in the region, so James Holmes, M.D., director of the Wake Forest Baptist Burn Center, has seen a lot in his time. While most people who are using oxygen have quit smoking, some are so addicted that they have been unable to stop.

While it’s never safe to smoke while around or while using oxygen, a device called OxySafe can help lower the risk of serious injury in an oxygen fire. OxySafe is a firebreak diffuser device that’s designed to stop the flow of gas in the event that the downstream oxygen cannula or supply tube is ignited.

In September 2018, Wake Forest Baptist donated 50 OxySafe kits to the Forsyth County Fire Department and 25 kits to both Davie and Surry County Emergency Services to be distributed to residents within their communities.

Grant Received to Continue Participation in NCAA-Defense Department Sports Concussion Study

Wake Forest Baptist Health, Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University received a two-year grant worth approximately $510,000 in August 2018 to support their continued participation in the largest-ever study of sports-related concussion.

The NCAA-Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research and Education (CARE) Consortium study is designed to examine the incidence and effects of concussion and repetitive head-impact exposure among student-athletes of both sexes at colleges and universities in all NCAA divisions. Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State are among the 30 NCAA members participating in the study.

Since the summer of 2016 Wake Forest Baptist personnel have directed comprehensive baseline screening for concussion on all athletes (including cheerleaders) at Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State and conducted follow-up evaluations on all those who have suffered concussions.

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