Season 5 of NCIMPACT Launches in February 2023

This release was produced in coordination between the UNC School of Government and PBS North Carolina.

PBS North Carolina and the UNC School of Government announce the premiere of the fifth season of the original weekly series ncIMPACT. Hosted by School faculty member Anita Brown-GrahamncIMPACT visits communities, organizations and businesses across North Carolina that are developing creative solutions to critical issues like health care, education, employment, the economy and the environment. The new season debuts Friday, February 3, 7:30 PM, on PBS NC and the PBS Video App. Support for season five is provided by UNC Health. 

“We have so much to learn from local leaders across North Carolina whose creativity and collaboration are improving lives across the state,” says ncIMPACT host Anita Brown-Graham. “I’m honored to share the stories of the tremendous strides our communities are making on so many complex issues simply by coming together.” 

Season five of ncIMPACT,which includes 13 episodes and visits 34 counties across North Carolina, opens on February 3 with a story about hospitals that have developed innovative ways to support people with dementia. Additional episodes examine how communities are trying to expand access to education, health care and fresh food, how sports tourism and the arts are being used to stimulate local economies and how residents are trying to make their neighborhoods safer in the face of rising crime. See the full schedule and episode descriptions below. 

With the season’s final episode on April 28, ncIMPACT will have visited communities in all 100 counties in the state. “From the mountains to the coast, there are incredible stories of innovation waiting to be told,” says ncIMPACT producer and reporter David Hurst. “PBS North Carolina, in partnership with the UNC School of Government, brings these stories to life, hoping they will inspire viewers across our state. The key to solving our most pressing issues is reaching across geographical, political and organizational boundaries to work together toward a solution.” 

“Our partnership with the UNC School of Government has allowed us to focus attention, time and content creation efforts on communities that are solving our state’s biggest challenges,” says Kelly McCullen, PBS North Carolina’s Director of the North Carolina Channel and Original Productions. “The school’s work with local communities and civic leaders opened doors for PBS North Carolina producers to tell stories that may have remained hidden.” 


Broadcast Schedule 

ncIMPACT airs Fridays, 7:30 PM, on PBS NC. The series is also available on the PBS Video App. Visit for the latest scheduling information.  

Episode 1: “Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care” 

Premieres Friday, February 3, 7:30 PM  

More than 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s Disease, and the cost of caring for them and those with other forms of dementia will more than double by 2025. Learn how hospitals and businesses are working to improve care for those with dementia and provide resources for their caregivers. Also see how a hospital in Wayne County has changed the way it interacts with patients with dementia. 

Episode 2: “Teacher Shortage Crisis” 

Premieres Friday, February 10, 7:30 PM 

In North Carolina, all grade levels suffer from a lack of math and special education teachers, while elementary schools lack qualified educators for all core subjects. Discover how school districts are getting creative in recruiting and retaining teachers, including a “Grow Your Own” program in Edgecombe County. 

Episode 3: “Sports Tourism Boom” 

Premieres Friday, February 17, 7:30 PM 

Sports are one of the fastest growing sectors in tourism. Join us as we visit several communities that are trying to capitalize on the sports tourism boom, including Rocky Mount, where a state-of-the-art sports facility has helped revitalize its downtown. 

Episode 4: “Building a Diverse Business Community” 

Premieres Friday, February 24, 7:30 PM 

BIPOC- and women-owned businesses have created about 4.7 million jobs nationwide, however, they still face many barriers to success. See how various communities are expanding opportunities for these businesses, including in Asheboro, where an innovative accelerator program helps entrepreneurs from historically underrepresented backgrounds thrive. 

Episode 5: “Rising Community Violence” 

Premieres Friday, March 3, 7:30 PM 

Crime rates rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those of violent crime. This comes on the heels of a steady decline in violent crime in the early to mid-2000s. Learn how communities are trying to make their neighborhoods safer, including in Robeson County, where “violence interrupters” help stop crimes before they happen. 

Episode 6: “Enhancing NC’s Workforce Through Education” 

Premieres Friday, March 10, 7:30 PM 

With workforce needs growing, there is an increased emphasis on the education and training students receive after high school. Visit communities that connect students to these opportunities, including Davie County, where high school students can begin their post-secondary education for free. 

Episode 7: “Increasing Food Access” 

Premieres Friday, March 17, 7:30 PM 

Rising food prices push many people into food insecurity. Nationwide, food costs have spiked 11.4% over the past year, the largest annual increase since 1979. See how communities are working to improve access to fresh and affordable food, including in Watauga County, which is helping connect farmers to customers in creative ways. 

Episode 8: “The Potential of Offshore Wind Energy” 

Premieres Friday, March 24, 7:30 PM 

Local and state leaders are working to bring offshore wind power to the North Carolina coast. A recent report shows the state could bring in $4.6 billion and 10,000 jobs over three years from offshore wind energy. Join us as we visit coastal communities as they prepare to fill workforce needs related to offshore wind development. 

Episode 9: “The Lack of Rural Health Care Options” 

Premieres Friday, March 31, 7:30 PM 

In the past decade, a handful of hospitals in rural North Carolina have closed. These communities suffered through the COVID-19 pandemic when access to health care was urgently needed but unavailable. Some rural communities have gotten creative in providing high-quality health care, including Caswell County, where a rural residency program is making an impact. 

Episode 10: “The Need for STEM in Rural Communities” 

Premieres Friday, April 7, 7:30 PM 

Many students and teachers in rural communities do not have access to and opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. Factors such as a lack of internet access often result in students lacking the skills that many jobs today require. Learn how two rural communities have overcome those obstacles, including Greene County, which has become a leader in STEM education. 

Episode 11: “Engaging ‘Disconnected’ Young Adults” 

Premieres Friday, April 14, 7:30 PM 

“Disconnected” young adults are individuals ages 16 to 24 who are neither in school nor working. Their lack of education and employment has significant effects on them throughout their lives. Join us as we visit communities working to provide opportunities for young adults, including in Columbus County, where students help the community access fresh food. 

Episode 12: “The Arts as an Economic Engine” 

Premieres Friday, April 21, 7:30 PM 

The arts can provide a community with opportunities for financial growth and infrastructure improvements. Civic leaders and artists across the state share their vision to revitalize their communities through the arts, including in the town of Star, where an abandoned sock factory has been transformed into an art mecca. 

Episode 13: “Conserving the Landscape in the Face of Growth” 

Premieres Friday, April 28, 7:30 PM 

Population growth and land fragmentation in North Carolina have threatened wildlife as well as natural habitats and resources. A study projects that two million acres of undeveloped land in NC will be gone in the next 30 years. Visit two communities working to conserve the landscape in the face of growth, including Jones County, which is repurposing a property that was badly damaged by a hurricane. 

Catch up on previous seasons of ncIMPACT by visiting

Anita R. Brown-Graham leads the UNC School of Government’s (SOG) special initiative ncIMPACT, which seeks to expand SOG’s capacity to work with public officials on complex policy issues. Since her arrival, she and her colleagues have devised programs to support communities working on economic mobility, poverty, the expansion of pre-K, extending the labor pool and addressing opioid misuse and abuse. 

From 1994 to 2006, Brown-Graham specialized in governmental liability and community economic development aimed at revitalizing communities an SOG faculty member. In 2007 she became Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University. There, she led IEI’s efforts to build North Carolina’s capacity for economic development and prosperity, working with leaders in business, government and higher education to focus on issues important to the state. 

Brown-Graham began her career as a law clerk in the Eastern District of California. She is a William C. Friday Fellow, American Marshall Fellow and Eisenhower Fellow. In 2013 the White House named her a Champion of Change for her work at the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University. The Triangle Business Journal named her a 2014 Woman in Business for her policy leadership in the state and a 2017 CEO of the Year. Brown-Graham, who earned an undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, serves on the boards of several organizations.