Courtesy of Atrium

Atrium Health is conducting a study on the fire’s impact.

Atrium Health Study

February 1, 2023

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist announced last month that it would launch a study on the health and environmental effects of the fire. The study is headed by Dr. Callie Brown, a Wake Forest Medical School alumna.

The study has three components: one in conjunction with the Wake Forest School of Engineering that monitors water, air and soil quality within two miles of the plant; another that examines long-term health effects of the fire on residents, and a third that consists of interviews with 40 residents that lived within a two-mile radius of Winston Weaver Co. at the time of the fire. 

“[We] heard from many community members that there was a desire for the fire not to be forgotten about or swept under the rug,” Brown said in regard to her and her colleagues’ motivation behind conducting the study.

Brown emphasized the importance of conducting studies following environmental disasters, particularly in areas that are “systematically disadvantaged,” stating that it is imperative that research like this be done in order to preserve the memory of these events and protect the health of communities. 

Given the various aspects of the study, the timeline for results varies. Results on water, air and soil testing, as well as the interviews are expected within the next year. The portion of the study that focuses on long-term health effects will follow those patients for five years to study differences in chronic health diseases, such as asthma, lung disease, heart disease and cancer, according to Brown. 

Interviews with Spanish speakers have already concluded, but English speakers living within a two-mile radius of Winston Weaver Co. who are interested in participating in the interview portion of the study are encouraged to contact the study’s community partner, Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, by calling (336)-602-2475. 

Further information regarding the study and its various aspects will be presented at a community meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, from 6-8 p.m. at the Hanes Hosiery Community Center.

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