Letter To Editor: Investing In Healthcare Education: A Win-Win For Johnston County

By Tommy Williams
CEO of UNC Johnston Health
Johnston Community College Trustee

Johnston Community College has formally requested that the County Commissioners approve an $85,000,000 bond referendum for the college. As the CEO of Johnston County’s only healthcare system, who also sits on the Board of Trustees for JCC, I wholeheartedly endorse the request from the county’s only higher education institution.

These funds would be used to construct a new medical campus facility in Clayton and to begin necessary upgrades to the public safety facilities on the Smithfield campus. This initiative not only holds promise for the future of healthcare education but also signifies a monumental step towards addressing the growing need for skilled healthcare workers in our community.

The challenges facing our healthcare system are multi-faceted and complex. From the ever-evolving landscape of medical technology to the increasing demands for quality patient care, hospitals across the nation are grappling with the task of ensuring a steady supply of competent healthcare professionals.

However, this endeavor is not without its hurdles, as shortages in critical positions continue to strain our ability to deliver timely and effective care to those in need.

The creation of an instructional hospital within our community college presents a unique opportunity to tackle these challenges head-on. By providing a state-of-the-art facility for hands-on training and education, we can cultivate a new generation of healthcare workers equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their respective fields.

From aspiring nurses and physicians to medical technicians and administrators, this initiative has the potential to nurture a diverse array of talent essential to the functioning of our healthcare ecosystem. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges and underscored the critical importance of a robust and resilient healthcare workforce. As our hospitals and clinics grapple with the demands of the ongoing public health crisis, the need for skilled and dedicated healthcare professionals has never been more apparent.

Yet, the healthcare and public service worker shortages persist, threatening our ability to effectively respond to emerging health threats and provide timely care to those in need. To address the healthcare worker shortage in Johnston County, we must adopt a comprehensive approach that combines short-term interventions with long-term investments in education and training.

Moreover, the benefits of investing in healthcare education extend far beyond the confines of our hospital walls. By empowering local residents with the opportunity to pursue careers in healthcare, we can foster economic growth and stability within our community. With each new graduate entering the workforce, we not only bolster our capacity to meet the healthcare needs of our population but also lay the groundwork for a healthier, more prosperous future for all.

At its core, healthcare is a collaborative endeavor that requires the collective efforts of hospitals, educational institutions, and the broader community. By supporting the establishment of an instructional hospital at our local community college, we are not only investing in the education and training of future healthcare professionals but also investing in the well-being of our community as a whole.

I urge the commissioners to seize this opportunity to invest in the future of healthcare and public service education. By approving this bond request, we can lay the foundation for a stronger, more resilient healthcare system while simultaneously empowering our community to thrive.

Together, let us embrace this bold vision for the future and ensure that every individual has access to the quality care they deserve.


  1. “These funds would be used to construct a new medical campus facility in Clayton“
    Didn’t they just complete a new facility acouple years ago on 42! Full of healthcare facilities across the street and a new facility about to open Nextdoor? Perhaps “UNC health could donate their record profits into building these facilities the right honorable ceo seems we need. No sir, UNC health, Duke Health and the other 5 healthcare systems which made 7.1 BILLION in 2020 alone should fund this; not the tax payers who are suffering with unending inflation and fuel prices. To the commissioners….reject this request and ask UNC et. al.fund this. Time to put your money where your mouth is Mr. CEO man.

  2. “After taking the lion’s share of the COVID relief dollars, the wealthy hospital systems recorded such a massive growth in cash and investments that it rivaled the state’s 2020 appropriations for K-12 classroom instruction. Duke Health even exceeded the average net profit margins of tobacco and investment banking in 2021. The increase in their charity care spending in 2020 equaled only a fraction of their windfall.” From shpnc.org

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