Dr. Elisabeth Potts named HCAP director at UNC Pembroke

Dr.Elisabeth Potts

Dr. Elisabeth Potts has been named senior coordinator of the North Carolina Health Careers Access Program at UNC Pembroke. To diversify health care across our community, the North Carolina Health Careers Access Program, or NC-HCAP, is a vital resource for students interested in pursuing health professions. 


The program provides specialized academic advising and assists students with various early assurance pathways and opportunities. The NC-HCAP program coordinates the Clinical Health Summer Program, which provides paid internship opportunities to local healthcare providers at no cost, bringing students valuable experience in their chosen field. The office maintains relationships with recruiters and healthcare practitioners across the state. It facilitates the Health Careers Club, which welcomes guests from the community, providing mentorship and networking opportunities for students in the program. 


Dr. Potts is joining the campus community at a pivotal point in the university’s push toward expanding its health sciences programs. This effort is an ongoing effort to address the health outcomes of the region and state while meeting the healthcare workforce needs in southeastern North Carolina. 


In response to a UNC-Chapel Hill Sheps Center health study, UNCP recently launched a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and will roll out a new Master of Science in Occupational Therapy this fall. Last month, UNCP announced plans to establish a Doctor of Optometry program as well as a Master of Healthcare Administration program. University leaders will soon begin seeking UNC System approval to expand its academic offerings to include nutrition and dietetics.


Dr. Potts comes from the charming small town of Smithsburg, Maryland. She earned dual undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biology, with a minor in mathematics, from Troy University. Dr. Potts earned her medical doctorate from the University of South Alabama's Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine, where she was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, graduating with the Dr. Michael M. Linder Endowed Award, the H. C. Mullins M.D. Award and the Ralph Denny Wright and Anne G. Wright Memorial Award. 

Her early professional journey began as a radiographer and sonographer before commissioning into the United States Army, where Dr. Potts received the Armed Forces Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal for her military service. While at Fort Liberty, Dr. Potts completed her family medical residency and served as the Medical Education Training Campus Coordinator at the Womack Army Medical Center, overseeing educational initiatives including physical therapy, occupational therapy, radiography, operating room, pharmacy and optometry. In this role, she maintained program accreditation and assisted with student success initiatives.

Through UNC Pembroke's NC-HCAP work, students are fully supported across the graduate and professional school application process, including medical, dental, veterinary, physician's assistant, pharmacy study, and more. Students from NC-HCAP have successfully entered programs across the region. 

"I am excited to begin as a health careers advisor at UNCP, where I will be part of a team that helps cultivate a diverse healthcare workforce dedicated to serving others," notes Dr. Potts. 

"One of the most fulfilling aspects of my life is the opportunity to give back through volunteer work. Most of my volunteering has been within my local community; however, in 2019, I had the privilege of participating in a medical mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, an experience that deeply resonated with me. I eagerly anticipate an upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic in October 2024."