In Service to Others: On the Battlefield & In the Community
As a U.S. Army Non-Commissioned Officer, Angelo Moore served during three Gulf War campaigns — Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Provide Comfort. After subsequently attending, then graduating from Winston-Salem State University, he joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. All told, Moore would serve more than 25 years on active duty in multiple leadership roles from Germany to Hawaii — *earning several service medals, commendation medals, and service ribbons, as well as three bronze service stars, and completing a master’s degree and a doctorate degree along the way.
He retired from the Army in 2015, but Moore’s service to his countrymen continues. In civilian life, he’s chosen to focus on serving the historically underserved.
U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Angelo Moore, PhD, MSN, RN, NE-BC, has led the Duke Cancer Institute Office of Health Equity (OHE) as program manager since May 2019 — overseeing, coordinating, implementing and helping design, in collaboration with his five-person team, the institute’s community impact-projects to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes for patients across North Carolina and beyond. Duke Cancer Institute leadership considers patient education, cancer prevention, and access a necessity and OHE’s work toward these ends a priority.
At DCI barely a year-and-a-half, he’s building a local and national profile in health equity. Moore was “the driving force” on a Duke and Durham team, which, in October, received a SCOPY Award from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) for "Best Culturally Inclusive Social Media Event” —a Facebook Live discussion in three parts and three languages on colorectal cancer prevention and screening.
The Uniformed Services University blog “Pulse” featured Moore, in February this year, in their “Black History Month Profiles: 20 Inspiring Uniformed Services University Alumni,” And he was invited to serve on the American Cancer Society’s National Navigation Round Table.
We spoke at length by phone about what drew Moore, 52, to military service, how his nursing, scientific research and leadership experience in the Army laid the groundwork for his civilian career at Duke; and how he’s continuing to help grow DCI’s programs and network of partners in service to the community, in the middle of a pandemic.
Moore grew up in the New York City borough of Queens. When he was a teenager the family moved to Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he attended high school. When it came time to consider college, his high school librarian suggested he consider Winston-Salem State University, “a good school with a lot of programs.”
“The main reason I chose that school was because of the female/male ratio. The ratio was like eight or nine to one; the rationale for me choosing it, initially, was not the appropriate one,” he laughed.
Once accepted and enrolled, with the goal of becoming a dentist, Moore selected a pre-dentistry/biology track. His father was a dental laboratory technician that made false teeth, so he was familiar with the field.
After a year at college, however, Moore withdrew and enlisted in the Army to earn money to continue his education. Five years in and being a Noncommissioned Officer, he decided to make a career of it and become an Army Commissioned Officer. He returned to Winston-Salem State University, this time on a U.S. Army Green-to-Gold Scholarship to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
“I could have gone anywhere with that scholarship,” said Moore, “but I chose to return to Winston-Salem State University. I chose nursing because it’s a profession where you are able to help people — that’s truly who I am — and get paid for it. I enjoyed the college and really loved the school.”
It was there that he would meet his future wife LeeAntoinette. The two became nursing study partners, started dating, married during spring break of their senior year, and both graduated with honors.
Immediately after graduation in 1995, Moore was assigned to Wake Forest University, where he served two months as a ROTC scholarship recruiter. For the next two years, he worked as a staff nurse in Medical-Surgical Nursing at Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. His next assignment was Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, where, for the next three-and-a-half years, he served as a critical care nurse in Intensive Care Units.
Working in the intensive care units motivated him to consider work in primary care.
“While I was working in the ICU in San Antonio, I worked with critically ill patients; individuals on the brink of dying,” said Moore. “I wanted to learn how I could prevent people from getting to the ICU in the first place.”
With his new goal of becoming a family nurse practitioner, he applied for and earned a U.S. Army Long-Term Health Education and Training Scholarship to pursue, in 2000, a Master of Science in Nursing at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. While he was there, the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in D.C. were attacked. When he graduated, in this post-9/11 world, the Army sent him to Germany.
For three years, he worked as a family nurse practitioner at the Family Practice Clinic, Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany. He also functioned as a triage officer, treating Servicemen and Servicewomen that were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan.
“In the military, you not only have your professional role, but you’re a leader,” said Moore, who, in 2004, received an “Outstanding Military RN” award. “When they find out you’re a pretty good leader, they put you in more leadership positions.”
After Germany, the Army assigned Moore to be a Commander at Fort Hamilton, New York, in Brooklyn, where he oversaw seven recruiting stations tasked with finding healthcare providers for the Army.
A Research-Minded Path
With only two-and-a-half years left until eligible for retirement, Moore returned to college for a PhD in Nursing — this time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — on a U.S. Army Long-Term Health Education and Training Scholarship for a PhD.
While a student at UNC-CH, Moore was a research assistant for an NIH-funded UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center pilot study (Barbershop FITStop, 2009) designed to assess health and promote physical activity in African American men. His dissertation evaluated how certain characteristics and health behaviors influence health outcomes for African American men in North Carolina diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was also an assistant investigator on several studies at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology & Health (2010-2011) to evaluate sociocultural and religious coping measures in older African American cancer patients.
After earning his PhD, Moore, his wife LeeAntoinette, and now four kids moved to Hawaii for a new three-year assignment with the Pacific Regional Medical Command. There he served as a nurse scientist, then deputy chief, then chief, at the Center for Nursing Science & Clinical Inquiry at Tripler Army Medical Center, while also working as an associate clinical professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Moore’s final assignment was at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, NC where he served as the Deputy Chief for Nursing Science & Clinical Inquiry from 2013-2015. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and would then serve, as a civilian, as the Chief Nurse for Education at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center responsible for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling a comprehensive Nursing Education Program for the medical center and its outlying health clinics.
Moore and his family made the move to their “after-military life” home in Durham in 2018.
His wife joined the nursing faculty at Durham Technical Community College to teach nursing students, while Moore focused on a healthcare consulting business they’d launched (focused on improving the patient experience) in 2015 after his Army retirement.
“People approached me with offers for a lot of different things. I said, ‘I’m in this stage of my life where I have choices and I want to do what I like to do,’” said Moore.
Then a position at Duke in health equity — an opportunity to assist historically vulnerable, underserved, and minority populations get access to necessary cancer care and cancer screening — piqued his interest.
Moore could trace his interest in serving the historically underserved to being a student at Winston-Salem State University, an HBCU, where community service was part of the curriculum and “the fabric of everything they do.”
“That was in line with what I enjoy doing, what I have the passion for, that I really didn’t quite fulfill when I was in the military,” said Moore. “The military didn’t really embrace “health equity” because they didn’t think there was a need for it. In the active duty military, everybody has access to healthcare.”
Serving the Historically Underserved
The Office of Health Equity (OHE), overseen by DCI deputy director Steven Patierno, PhD, is the community facing aspect of Duke Cancer Institute. Its mission is to reduce cancer disparities and improve population health in the region for African American (25 percent of Duke’s cancer patient population), LatinX, Asian American, Native American, Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQ, refugee and rural communities.
“We are constantly finding innovative ways to reach all these populations and establish collaborative relationships,” said Moore.
There are currently five people on staff including Moore, a staff assistant (Aretha Rice), data analyst & evaluation specialist (Kearston Ingraham, MPH), a senior program coordinator (LaSonia Barnett) and a health educator/patient navigator (Nadia Aguilera-Funez) tasked with helping patients access the screening, diagnostic testing and treatments they need, whether at Duke Health, another health system, clinic or a federally qualified health center (FQHC).
The OHE team works closely with a Community Advisory Council comprised of 22 individuals representing diverse perspectives — across race, ethnicity, class, religion, geography, sexuality/identity — who provide insight for OHE initiatives and help OHE’s outreach efforts.
Moore’s an active member of several campus-based groups (the Duke University School of Medicine’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, the Duke Academy for Health Professionals Education and Academic Development, and Duke Health’s Women's Health Community Engagement Task Force) and local, state and national groups including the Men’s Health Council of the Durham County Department of Public Health, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (ccphealth), National Black Nurses Association (NBNA), ROCKS, Inc. ( ROCKS), and the Minority Advisory Committee for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Each year, OHE partners with other Duke groups, Duke providers, the Durham County Health Department, Lincoln Community Health Center, and local community associations to host the annual Men’s Health Screening, and sponsors and participates in the Women’s Health Awareness Day (a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Delta Sigma Sorority event) — conducting free-of-charge health screenings and sharing educational materials on prevention.
Both events, for the men and for the women, depend on volunteers and were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19-related limitations.
“For the Women’s Health Awareness Day in April, we had planned to screen for thyroid cancer and skin cancer, as well as screen for radon, a risk factor for lung cancer,” said Moore. “At our annual Men’s Health Screening, usually held in September, we typically screen for prostate cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, and we conduct lung cancer risk assessments. We also do blood pressure checks, diabetes testing, hepatitis C and HIV testing. At both events, we also try and guide individuals to the smoking cessation program at DCI or another program outside of Duke if desired. We know that tobacco use leads to cancer.”
Having to cancel these important events, said Moore, was disappointing.
“We know that a lot of people have lost their jobs and subsequently lost their health insurance, if they even had insurance to begin with,” said Moore. “We reached out to all the men who participated in the Men’s Health Screening event in the past and encouraged them to wear a mask, physically distance, wash their hands and continue to get their routine screenings for the chronic diseases that they have, and get other types of screening they may need as well.”
While COVID-19 has impacted some key events and many face to face meetings, this experience hasn’t dampened Moore’s commitment to the execution of OHE’s broader mission., as they develop innovative methods for reaching members of the community.
- The OHE’s efforts at launching a re-imagined Community Health Ambassador program — which will recruit and train trusted individuals from faith-based and other community organizations to educate their communities about cancer prevention, screening and some of the common chronic conditions that increase the risk of cancer — was launched in late July virtually due to the pandemic.
- Moore and OHE senior program coordinator LaSonia Barnett gave a virtual instead of a planned in-person lecture on acute and chronic diseases, including cancer, to students studying to be community health workers at Durham Technical Community College
- Because many churches aren’t meeting in person due to COVID-19, outreach to communities of faith has been virtual — by phone or computer, not the most ideal situation.
In COVID-19, Moore sees something very familiar — under-resourced communities facing barriers to access — both testing (for ex. limited testing sites in close proximity to where they live) and care (due to lack of health insurance and/or their local community healthcare facility is overburdened).
Many community members are “essential workers” and disproportionally suffering the more serious side-effects of the coronavirus.
The switch to telehealth in the first few months of the pandemic, “exposed a digital divide,” Moore said, between urban and rural, the young and the old.
The Black Lives Matter movement shined a light, in the middle of the pandemic, on both the disproportionate injustices suffered and the healthcare disparities experienced by African Americans and other people of color.
“I recently spoke with the Men’s Health Council in Durham about men with chronic diseases not getting the care or screenings they still need. COVID-19 is not stopping people from developing cancer. If people delay, then whenever cancer is found, it may be found in the later stages. People are more afraid, with COVID-19, to go to the clinic,” said Moore. “It’s too early to know what impact COVID-19 will have on cancer rates, but we assume that those rates will go up.”
Some of the scientists conducting COVID-19 clinical trials at Duke are having the same trouble DCI has had accruing African American and Latino participants and have asked Moore for help —studies that, as in cancer, could save lives. The OHE now works closely with the Latinx Advocacy Team & Interdisciplinary Network for COVID-19 (LATIN-19) and the African American/Black Community Response to COVID-19 groups consisting of community members, county and state staff, faculty, staff, students, advocates, faith leaders, etc.
Injustices, like disparities, are systemic. There are many things that need fixing.
“I’m optimistic that things will change; things will get better. You have to be. Or else people will lose the motivation to want to change,” said Moore. “I don’t say much, I’m a doer.”
Moore is hoping that OHE’s extensive relationship building and engagement with the community will result in “greater awareness of how to prevent and screen for cancer, more people in treatment while in the early stages of cancer, fewer cancer disparities, and an increase in the number of minority and historically underserved populations accrued to clinical trials.”
On this Veterans Day, we thank Lieutenant Colonel Moore for his years of military service and thank Dr. Moore for his continuing service to Duke and the community.
CIRCLE PHOTO (TOP): Office of Health Equity data analyst & evaluation specialist Kearston Ingraham, MPH, prostate and urologic oncologist and co-chair of the DCI Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers Daniel George, MD, Angelo Moore, PhD, MSN, RN, NE-BC, deputy director of Duke Cancer Institute Steven Patierno, PhD, and director of Research Administration and Operations Karen Kharasch. (photo by Glenn Parson)
*Angelo Moore's Awards
- 4 Meritorious Service Medals
- 6 Army Commendation Medals
- 2 Army Achievement Medals
- An Army Good Conduct Medal
- 2 National Defense Service Medals
- Southwest Asia Service Medal (three bronze service stars)
- A Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- A Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
- A Noncommissioned Officer Development Ribbon (2nd Award)
- An Army Service Ribbon
- 3 Overseas Ribbons
- A Kuwait Liberation (Saudi Arabia) Medal
- A Kuwait Liberation Medal
- 2 Meritorious Unit Commendation Medals
- An Army Unit Commendation Medal
- The Order of Military Medical Merit (O2M3)
- Distinguished Clinical Performance Award, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (2002)
- Graduate of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.) Award, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing (2012)
- National Black Nurses Association Nurse Researcher of the Year (2012)
COL Bobby R. Burke Award, given by The ROCKS, Inc (2013)
- Alumni Achiever Award, Winston-Salem State University (2013)
- National Black Nurses Association’s Trailblazer Award (2016)
- Nursing Leadership Award from the North Carolina Black Nurses Association Sandhills chapter (2017)