Holly Ray ’06 developed an interest in health care during high school while helping to care for her grandfather who had Alzheimer’s disease. Since December 2018, she has served as the medical director of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Surgery Navigation Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, where she oversees preoperative evaluation of the 40,000 patients scheduled to undergo surgery each year in the hospital’s system.
“My role focuses on improving the quality of care that patients receive perioperatively,” Ray shares. “It’s quite a rewarding job and I love it!”
In addition to leading the Surgery Navigation Center, Ray’s passion for preventative care extends beyond hospital grounds.
“My family started a business called P2P Rescue six years ago that centers on drowning prevention. We manufacture rescue boards that are used by lifeguards and fire departments around the country, and now internationally. P2P Rescue keeps us traveling to interesting places and meetings, like the World Conference on Drowning Prevention and U.S. Lifesaving Association meetings.”
As an undergraduate at NC State, Ray majored in zoology and minored in Spanish and philosophy with a concentration in bioethicsRay explains that many NC State and Park Scholarships experiences have shaped her, both professionally and personally.
“I still remember valuable lessons learned in leadership during our first year seminar and learning modules. Through connecting with other Park Scholars, I became involved in the initial steering committee that started Dance Marathon, and that really fostered my leadership development. Through my Park Faculty Mentor, Dr. Bob Grossfeld, I was able to connect with Dr. Chris McGahan, now dean of NC State’s College of Sciences, and do undergraduate research at the College of Veterinary Medicine.”
Ray says she has experienced many opportunities that have helped advance her career.
While attending Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Ray was a North Carolina Schweitzer Fellow. The NC Schweitzer Fellowship helps professionals enter the workforce with the skills and commitment necessary to work with communities that have unmet health needs. Fellows are selected for demonstrating a desire to create positive change in vulnerable communities in North Carolina.
As part of the NC Schweitzer Fellowship, Ray spent a summer developing and implementing a nutrition program for Spanish-speaking families in her rural home county, Greene County. She also spent her fourth-year rotation in medical school in Nicaragua.
As a Park Scholar at NC State, Dr. Ray was also able to explore other areas of interest beyond health care and says that college is the best time to discover new passions.
“I also really enjoyed my time in college that was not necessarily spent focusing on my future career, in particular being a member of the Packabelles (an all-female a cappella group, The Packabelles,) and the Sigma Kappa sorority.”
“One of the highlights of my time as a Park Scholar was definitely our Senior Retreat in Yosemite National Park. I co-led our planning committee for the retreat, and it was a wonderful experience putting it together, and experiencing it all come to fruition. I will never forget hiking to a point to view Half Dome with several of my classmates!