In Loving Memory: MaryAnn Black, MSW, LCSW
Associate Vice President for Community Relations
State Rep. MaryAnn Black, a former Durham County commissioner and a Duke University Health System leader who for many years helped build strong connections between the health system and the local community, has died. She was 76.
Black served as associate vice president for community relations for the health system. In that role, she worked to establish partnerships with the city, the county and other agencies and organizations to benefit every citizen regardless of race, background or financial status.
“It is difficult to quantify MaryAnn’s significant contributions to our organization and to our community,” said Dr. Eugene Washington, Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke and President and CEO of the Duke University Health System. “The legacy she built as a social worker, a leader and community servant will long enhance our community.”
“MaryAnn was known for the extraordinary relationships she built through dialogue, compromise, and steady leadership,” said Duke University President Vincent E. Price. “We are so very grateful for MaryAnn’s many years of service to Duke and to the Durham community. She was a true pillar of the community, and her strength and compassion will be greatly missed.”
Black joined the health system in 2002 as director for community affairs. She already had a reputation both as a political leader and as a social worker for being a leading advocate for health and human services programs. She was later promoted to associate vice president. At Duke, she initiated numerous initiated efforts that enhanced the health system’s relationship with local government, community leaders, the faith communities and other groups.
Black was first elected to the Durham County Commissioners in 1990 and served until 2002. She chaired the board for six years during her tenure. She was appointed by Gov. Cooper to the state House in 2017. She was not seeking re-election this year.
As a legislator, both at the county and state level, Black had a strong reputation for her strong work ethic and ability to reach out to community leaders across political lines.
“She was an inspiration and icon, in my opinion,” said Doug Heron, associate vice president for state relations at Duke. “I used to stop by her legislative office in Raleigh and we’d spend an hour just talking about everything - politics, life, Duke and Durham - her love for all. She never told me she didn’t have time to catch up, and never once did she fail to read background materials or research a bill - she was one of the most prepared legislators I’ve ever worked with in 15 plus years of lobbying in North Carolina.”
Other legislators joined in praising Black.
“MaryAnn Black was a strong, compassionate leader who spent her life making North Carolinians healthier and better educated,” said NC Gov. Roy Cooper, in a twitter statement Thursday. “She will be sorely missed by all of us who knew her and called her a friend.”
Democratic 1st District Congressman G.K. Butterfield said in a statement Thursday that Black served "with immense passion, tireless dedication and endless grace."
"MaryAnn Black was known throughout the city of Durham and the state of North Carolina for breaking barriers, setting high standards and fighting for the needs of the Durham community," Butterfield said. "With over 30 years of service prior to her political career, MaryAnn’s soul of a social worker poured out into everything she touched."
Her civic roles included as president of the Durham Downtown Rotary, and she was the first female chair of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce Board.
In addition, Black worked on the boards of the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission and Durham Technical Community College’s Board of Trustees.
She also spent more than 30 years as a clinical social worker, specializing in psychotherapy with children and their families. The State of North Carolina and National Association of Social Workers named her she was named Social Worker of the Year in 1994.
Black has received numerous awards for work in the community during her career. Her most recent awards include being honored by the Durham Chapter of Charms 2014, the Samuel DuBois Cook Society 2008, Distinguished Service Award, the Family and Children’s Services 2007, Community Service Award 2006, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce Circle of Influence Diversity Award 2005, Women-In-Action Elna B. Spaulding Founder’s Award, and 2005 Triangle Business Journal Top 25 Outstanding Women in Business.
Kimberly Monroe, MPA
Program Manager, Community Engagement
In her role, Ms. Monroe displays her heart for people and the community by working on initiatives to improve the overall health and well being of the communities served by Duke Health. Her "global citizen" background (Air Force Brat) and focus on collaboration and inclusiveness has enabled her to serve effectively in vaious organizations such as: Partnership for a Healthy Durham, Durham County Women's Commission, Homeless Services Advisory Committee, Durham Connects Advisory Committee, African American Dance Ensemble and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance.
Nationally, she serves on the Culture of Health Workgroup for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and participated in the National Academy of Medicine Culture of Health cohort meetings.
Before coming to Duke in 1997, she worked at UNC Physicians & Associates and Piedmont Health Services in Chapel Hill, NC.
Ms. Monroe recieved her Bachelor's in Business & Finance from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas and a Masters in Public Health & Human Services Administration from UNC Chapel Hill. She is an Ordained Elder at Victorious Life Fellowship Church in Durham, NC.
Communications & Special Projects
Darla Wohlfarth has worked for the Office of Community and Local Government Relations for ten years. She manages the DUHS Summer Internship Program which is a collaboration between Duke University Health System, Made In Durham and Durham YouthWorks. She manages the administration of the Charitable and Goodwill grants, and the web site design and content for the Office of Community Relations, DUHS. She attends numerous events and meetings throughout the community representing the OCR.
Her previous professional experience includes working for the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill coordinating events, Sun Trust Corporate In-House Advertising where she produced award winning radio spots, wrote and edited the corporate magazine and pamphlets and coordinated events, WJXT-TV 4, a CBS affiliate in Jacksonville, Florida where she wrote and produced television spots, and May (Macys) Corporation as an advertising copywriter.
Ms. Wohlfarth received her B.A. in Journalism from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a concentrated study in Public Relations and Advertising and completed a second major in Sociology.
Giovanna Vruwink is the Administrative Assistant for the Office of Community and Local Government Relations. Ms. Vruwink joined the team in May of 2019. She is a knowledgeable administrative assistant with 4 years in the field. She has extensive experience with all administrative tasks, including scheduling and correspondence. Her role includes administrative functions and she provides support to the OCR team members. Having held positions in the medical and business field, she is able to tailor her skills to meet the needs of the Office of Community Relations. In addition to her duties in the OCR, Ms. Vruwink provides support and backup for the Chancellor's Office for DUHS.
Ms. Vruwink recieved her B.A. in Design Studies from North Carolina State University, College of Design in Raleigh, NC with a concentration in Branding and a minor in French. She also recieved a second B.A. in Game Design and Animation from the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, focusing on Digital Rigging and Coding.