Program for recruiting medical professionals set to go

Published 1:30 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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Two years in the making, a recruitment program for medical professionals for Dare County and northeastern North Carolina is underway.

“We’ve come a long ways,” said Malcolm Fearing at the mid-February meeting of the Town of Manteo’s Healthcare Task Force. “Franklin Walker is an absolute hero in the efforts.”

Walker is vice president of solutions for the North Carolina Medical Society’s Foundation. At that mid-February meeting he announced the formation of a preceptor hub in Dare County.

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Four medical schools have agreed to send students to Dare and Hyde counties. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will send medical students. Campbell, Elon and Wake Forest have agreed to send students working toward degrees as physician assistants.

A preceptor hub is a group of experienced medical professionals who agree to supervise medical students and provide training and clinical medical experience.

The program is slated to start in the fall of 2024 with two students working for several weeks depending on academic schedules at the universities.

Preceptor sites include the three federally qualified medical centers in Manteo, Engelhard and Ocracoke and the Dare County Health Department. Walker is recruiting medical professionals to participate in the program. If interested, contact Walker at 919-280-4334 or

Fearing described the preceptorship program as allowing students to “hone their skills on the Outer Banks. We are confident that we will prove to them what we all know – this is an amazing place to live, work and raise a family.”

Housing is arranged. The medical center in Ocracoke has an apartment available. The medical center in Engelhard has a house available. And several private citizens in Dare County have offered housing.

However, the program needs a group of ambassadors from the community so students experience all that Dare County has to offer. The ambassadors are an integral part of recruiting these medical students to consider Dare County as a place to live and work. To volunteer as an ambassador, call Margaret Northrup at 252-256-3026 or email

As to funding, the state’s budget for this year includes $750,000 per year for three years. The three federally qualified health centers operate under the Ocracoke Medical Center, Inc., which applied for funding for the envisioned preceptor program.

The Dare County Preceptor Hub is a partnership among the North Carolina Medical Society, the Town of Manteo and the three medical centers in Manteo, Engelhard and Ocracoke.