SRT - Pamlico County

Application Deadline:

Project Status:

  • Open


  • Health care access,
  • Digital health,
  • Non-communicable diseases


  • United States


  • Pamlico County, North Carolina

Start Date:

End Date:

Project Type:

  • Student Research Training Program


  • Yes

Placements Available:

  • 4

SRT - Pamlico County

SRT - Pamlico County

Pamlico County is a beautiful rural, coastal county with about 13,000 residents, a high rate of chronic diseases, many elderly and a significant proportion living in poverty. It is also prone to hurricanes and flooding, making disaster readiness and response critical. The county has a limited primary healthcare system of 3 clinics but no hospital.

During the last academic year, a Bass team worked successfully with several county partners, which has resulted in their desire to continue the Duke student partnership (Partners for Pamlico – so named by the Bass student team). One of these partners is Hope Clinic, a free and charitable clinic in the County capital of Bayboro. It serves county residents who fall out of the Medicaid and Medicare safety net. Each year, Hope Clinic distributes nearly $3 million dollars in prescription meds, a large portion of which are used in the treatment of NCDs of growing prevalence in Pamlico County. Recently the Clinic has decided to move to a community-based health care delivery model, rather than their traditional physician, clinic-based approach. This approach aligns with the previous Bass student team’s recommendations to strengthen the NCD care program.

The SRT will work closely with the Clinic leadership and Board to address how to transition from their current model to a more public health orientation, leveraging technology to improve disease management, especially for chronic care, but also introduce and evaluate community-based health workers (CHWs) to increase access and availability of care, especially for mental health and chronic disease management. The new model will provide more integrated services and rely more on outreach, education and social services, rather than only facility-based physician care.  

 Areas of student research might include:

  • Mobile outreach services
  • Integrated care, including counseling and mental health services
  • Introduction and evaluation of CHWs, initially focused on chronic care management (may include mental health)
  • Examination of integration of CHW care record into the EMR
  • Use of digital  technology and innovative apps, especially for mental health


Our prior Bass team also worked successfully with the COVID Community Task Force (CCTF) which is now being integrated into the Pamlico County Disaster Response Coalition (PCDRC). The PCDRC has the potential to become a critical Long Term Recovery partner organization. Its Mission is to support the residents of Pamlico County in Readiness for a natural or health disaster; to support the Pamlico County government in its Response to a disaster; and, to provide long-term Recovery assistance as residents deal with personal and property damages.  It believes that all people of Pamlico County should have a safe home following a disaster, regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religious preference.

The SRT will be expected to work closely with the leadership and Board of the PCDRC to address one or more of the following research questions. It is hoped that the team will be able to assist even in the spring semester, including assisting with the identification of grants and assisting PCDRC in developing grant proposals.

Potential questions for student research:

  • How can emergency management and public health be integrated in disaster readiness and response?
  • What is the optimal role of volunteer (health) teams in disaster response?
  • How can community-based health workers (CHWs) be best utilized in disaster response, including surveillance?
  • How might rural counties create an aligned, multi-county coalition to have a larger presence with policymakers and attract more resources than their individual, small populations can do?

 We are looking for students with:

  • Desire and dedication to address inequities and disparities in rural healthcare
  • Interest in alternative delivery models of care, especially for chronic care and seniors
  • Interest in applying frugal and digital innovation in a rural community
  • Interest in health policy and developing models that support capacity building and sustainable transfer of implementation to local leadership.
  • Knowledge (course or experience) in research methods, data collection and statistical analysis helpful
  • Ability to work virtually, but when opportunity presents, to travel to Pamlico and meet the community partners and local residents
  • Open to diverse cultural perspectives and working with people across a spectrum of ages, educational backgrounds, races and religious beliefs
  • Self-motivated learner, excellent project management, organizational, team-work and communication skills
  • Professionalism in working with community co-workers and leaders, health workers, and NGO supervisors.

Prior experience with any community-based organizations, community-based care delivery, community surveys, qualitative focus groups or key informant interviews, as well as experience with digital innovations in health care delivery - a PLUS!

Project Application Process 

Students must fill out and submit a project application (Opens September 29), CV and recent transcript to by October 15, 2021. Applications open September 29th. Students may apply to no more than two project opportunities and a separate application must be completed for each SRT project site. Any questions regarding the application, interview dates or general project information should be directed to Lysa MacKeen or Erin Gauldin.