Dr. Robin Cummings has left UNC Pembroke’s Board of Trustees effective March 4 to become director of the Rural Health and Community Care (ORHCC) division of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
A Pinehurst, N.C., physician, Dr. Cummings begins in his new job on March 7. A former cardiothoracic surgeon, he was serving as the medical director and executive director of Community Care of the Sandhills, an organization that serves 60,000 Medicaid recipients in a seven-county region.
Dr. Cummings was appointed by the Board of Governors to UNCP’s Board of Trustees in 2009 and was elected chair in 2011 and re-elected for 2012. As an employee of the state, he cannot continue to serve on the board.
“I am looking forward to this new challenge,” Dr. Cummings said. “It relates to what I have been doing for the last five years in the seven-county region. This position takes my work to another level.”
The North Carolina Office of Rural Health and Community Care (ORHCC) helps communities get low-cost access to medical care. It is a part of the larger agency whose mission is to protect the health and safety of all North Carolinians.
Dr. Cummings said leaving UNCP’s board is “bittersweet,” although the Pembroke native remains proud of the university.
“I love this university, and this has been a great board of trustees to work with,” he said. “UNCP is moving in a positive direction, and I will remain involved.”
Chancellor Kyle R. Carter thanked Dr. Cummings for his service to the university.
“Although a Chapel Hill graduate, Chairman Cummings was raised close to the university in the Union Chapel community and has been a loyal and passionate supporter of UNC Pembroke his entire life,” Dr. Carter said. “Throughout his term on the board of trustees, and especially during his two years as chairman, Dr. Cummings established a high standard for commitment and service.
“We’ve had a great partnership over the last two years, and I will miss his counsel and leadership,” Chancellor Carter continued. “The State of North Carolina is gaining an excellent leader whose passion is health care. All of us here at the university thank him for his dedicated service and wish him well.”
Before joining the UNCP’s board of trustees, Dr. Cummings had served as chair of the UNCP Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors. He is on the boards of the North Carolina Rural Center and the Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship.
Since it was created in 1973, ORHCC has opened 86 rural health centers across the state. Currently, ORHCC supports 28 rural health centers with funding and technical support. ORHCC also helps to place medical, psychiatric, and dental providers in communities throughout the state. Rural hospitals, as well as many statewide medical facilities that treat poor and uninsured residents, may receive help through grant funds. Qualifying patients may take advantage of drug companies’ free and low-cost drug programs through ORHCC’s medication assistance program.