UNC School of Nursing professor Cheryl L. Woods Giscombé’s commitment to public service begins with her upbringing in Roxboro, North Carolina. Her family moved there after her father, one of the first African-American graduates of the UNC School of Dentistry, received a grant to provide dental care in a rural community — one where most citizens worked in factories or on farms, and twice as many people had not finished high school as had graduated from college. His dental office served to underscore for his daughters the value of hard work and helping others.
“He never allowed us to think that we were more than or better than anyone else,” Giscombe said. “After Sunday dinner, my sister and I would go with him to his office. We vacuumed, dusted and cleaned the bathrooms.”
Today, Giscombé focuses her research on understanding and reducing stress-related health disparities among African Americans.
Giscombé is the Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness.
This is story number 191 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.