Bringing it Home, How Duke Engages with North Carolina

Show is always better than tell. Rarely is that adage truer than when advocating on the university’s behalf. The Duke Office of Government Relations spends much of its time engaging policymakers in Washington, D.C. However, the greatest impact the university makes, and therefore the greatest asset worth sharing, is right in Duke’s own backyard.

Such is the idea behind State and District Directors’ Day. Hosted biennially by the Duke University Office of Government Relations (OGR) and Duke University Health and State Government Relations (DGR) since 2005, the day-long event exposes congressional staffers from both parties and both chambers of the U.S. Congress to the breadth of Duke’s impact and engagement across North Carolina. Half the day is spent on the university side and the other half with the Duke Health and Duke Medicine side.

Underlining the importance of the day is the sheer size and scope of Duke’s relationship with North Carolina residents. As the second largest private employer in the state, with over 38,000 employees, Duke is woven into the fabric of not just the higher education community or Durham, but the entire state. Through Duke’s private health insurance plan 70,000 North Carolinians receive their medical care coverage.

As President Vincent Price told Congressional staff in attendance, “Duke can be a powerful agent in developing the full potential of the state of North Carolina.”

President Price went on to discuss the successes and continued potential for collaboration between Duke and state and local entities across North Carolina arguing, “we’ve got scale and partnerships in the region to work through the most serious problems facing us.” Expressing optimism for what is to come, he added that, “we’ve only really begun to leverage these partnerships.”


This blog is the launch of a new, ongoing series from the Duke Office of Government Relations aimed at highlighting the important and diverse array of work Duke does across the state of North Carolina. Subsequent posts will dig deeper into issues discussed at the 2017 District Directors’ Day, including the Duke Superfund Research Center and College Advising Corps. Some stories will trace federal funding down to the local level and others will showcase the impact Duke is having on communities across the state.

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