From the moment she first learned about the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center three years ago, Chancellor Carol L. Folt has been an avid backer of the center and its mission of compassionately treating and supporting severe burn patients.
The center recognized that support on July 27 as it presented Folt with the 12th Person Award. The center’s advisory board presents the award, named after Phil Ford – who wore No. 12 for the men’s basketball team in the 1970s – annually for outstanding support of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center and its mission.
“It’s not one of the more nationally recognized awards that people could get, but what makes it priceless is it comes from the heart of the people who would only give this to someone that has really reached out and touched us,” said Bruce Cairns, director of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center and John Stackhouse Distinguished Professor of Surgery at the UNC School of Medicine. “She is the perfect recipient. She has always, from the minute she heard about the place, recognized what we’ve been trying to do here for decades and has elevated it.”
Folt is the fourth person to receive the award.
“It is an honor to receive this award,” Folt said. “It is very, very special, this burn center. It’s something that every single one of us is proud of and is blessed to feel we’re a part of.”
A 36-bed facility that provides adult and pediatric care, the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center is one of the largest and most comprehensive burn centers in the world. It is also the largest academic burn center in the country.
Since opening in 1981, the center has focused on acute care, prevention, education, research and rehabilitation with an extensive staff of burn surgeons, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, rehabilitation counselors, physical therapists and aftercare specialists.
The center also supports a burn unit at the Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi, providing training, supplies and tools for the unit. Folt visited the hospital this summer to see the partnership with Malawian Surgical Initiative firsthand.
“This was a trip of a lifetime,” she said. “We got to see in person what I’ve seen when I’ve been right here in this burn center — that amazing community and family.”
The North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center, Folt said, is a symbol of a public university — a program that exists to serve the greater population.
“A burn center is what you do because it’s of the deepest need and of the greatest impact,” she said. “That’s what we do. That’s what you all do. It is something that exists very rightly here in America’s first public university.”
In her brief remarks, Folt thanked the burn center staff and advisory board members for their work in treating and supporting patients both in the state and in Malawi.
“As Chancellor, what I’m really most comfortable doing is thanking everyone else,” she said. “That’s what I get to do because I get to lead such an incredible place. I think even in receiving this, I believe I’m receiving it in gratitude, speaking for the University to thank you all for what you do.”
By Brandon Bieltz, University Communications