Noteworthy features news and updates about Triangle North Healthcare Foundation’s activities and grantees.
Community Workforce Solutions Grant Program Shows Health Really Does Matter
By Val Short,
Triangle North Healthcare Foundation
HealthMatters is an evidence-based education program on health, wellness, and physical activity, designed specifically for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Community Workforce Solutions (CWS) in Henderson, formerly INCO, has implemented this 12-week program with 40 of its clients with great results.
The primary mission of the program is to increase the participants’ knowledge about healthy lifestyles, to improve fitness, and to teach core concepts related to physical activity and nutrition. With grant funding provided by Triangle North Healthcare Foundation, CWS was able to provide training and certification for three staff members as HealthMatters instructors. These instructors have trained other staff members and are leading the program for the CWS clients.
The program has enabled CWS clients to participate in group activities related to healthy food choices, food portions, food preparation in addition to physical exercise. Each participant sets personal goals for the program that could include 30 minutes of exercise per day, increasing fruits and vegetables in the diet, and weight loss. Pre and post surveys plus diet and weight monitoring have provided evidence of success for the participants.
Program coordinator Kim Fren reported for the first 12-week group of participants, 75% met their individual weekly goals throughout the program and an additional 8% partially met their goals. Additional evidence of success included an aggregate decrease in BMI (body mass index) of 3.39%, a participant who no longer needed to carry oxygen, and another participant who was able to walk independently by the end of the program. Ms. Fren also noted an instructor for the program had lost 35 pounds.
Community Workforce Solutions has been active in Henderson since 1983 when it was established as INCO and provided day programming and supported employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Vance, Granville, Franklin, and Warren counties. In 2003, INCO merged with the Raleigh Vocational Center and became INCO/RVC. The name was changed to Community Workforce Solutions in 2007 to better reflect the mission of the organization. Onsite day services are provided, which include social, vocational, and functional living skills. Employment skills and job placement assistance are also provided to clients who are interested in seeking jobs.
Community Workforce Solutions’ HealthMatters program is one of 12 programs funded by Triangle North Healthcare Foundation during the 2016-17 year that have made an impact on health in our communities. The Foundation’s mission is to encourage support, and invest in quality efforts that measurably improve health in the Triangle North region, which includes Vance, Warren, Granville, and Franklin counties. For information about grant opportunities, please give us a call at 252-430-8643.
Triangle North Healthcare Foundation Grant Awards Top $1 Million
Triangle North Healthcare Foundation’s Board of Directors has approved $300,000 in grants to local organizations in the Foundation’s fifth grant cycle. The 2017 awards will bring the total grants awarded by the Foundation to $1.1 million since 2013, when the Foundation began grantmaking.
“All of the grants awarded will fund projects that focus on community health in some way,” said Val Short, executive director for the local Foundation. “Our hope is that these grant awards will result in improved health and healthier lifestyles for children and adults in our region,” she added. Grant recipients will be announced in October.
Triangle North Healthcare Foundation has established five major funding priorities that include, Chronic Disease Prevention, Nutrition and Physical Fitness, Success in School—as it relates to health and fitness, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and Reproductive Health. “Most of our grant projects this year focus on chronic disease management and prevention, success in school, and substance use disorders,” said Short.
Located in Henderson, Triangle North Healthcare Foundation’s grant funding mission has been made possible by the endowment that was established after Maria Parham Medical Center merged with the for-profit Duke-Lifepoint. Information about the Foundation and future grant opportunities is available by calling 252-598-0763.
Downtown Henderson Farmers Market Will Provide Access to Fresh Vegetables
By Val Short,
Triangle North Healthcare Foundation
You may have heard the term “food desert” recently– possibly in connection with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative, or perhaps in a news report about poverty and the food challenges facing some low income neighborhoods. A food desert is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a community or neighborhood that is without access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and healthful whole foods.
Food deserts are usually found, according to USDA, in impoverished areas because of the lack of grocery stores, farmers markets, and healthy food providers. Food deserts are not without stores completely, however. They do have quick marts that provide mostly processed foods with high fat and sugar content that contribute to the growing obesity epidemic. Having no car or other means of transportation can also limit access to healthy foods if the nearest grocery store is miles away.
The USDA describes “low access communities” as city neighborhoods that have at least 500 people who reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.
Believe it or not, we have food deserts here and all around us. Although our communities have ample grocery stores, access to those stores can be a challenge if you don’t have a car and you live several miles away.
The Downtown Development Commission’s “Downtown Farmer’s Market” will address the food deserts in and around the downtown area. Funded with a grant from Triangle North Healthcare Foundation, the Farmers Market will be located on Breckenridge Street, in front of the Henderson Police Station and near the Perry Memorial Library. The market will be open every Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through September. EBT and SNAP payments will be accepted at the Downtown Farmer’s Market.
Products for the market will be provided by farm students and growing partners with Green Rural Redevelopment and other local growers. Featured items will include vegetables and fruits in season, flowers, and local honey. The market is open to new vendors, so anyone who is interested in selling produce from their gardens can call the DDC at 252-820-9785.
“We are pleased to provide access to healthy foods in an area that is within walking distance to many of our downtown areas that are low access communities,” said Phil Hart, chairman of the Henderson Downtown Development Commission. And I can say that the Foundation is pleased to be a funding partner in this effort to ensure that all of our citizens have access to delicious fresh food. I invite you to join me in stopping by the Downtown Farmers Market on Fridays in search of that first red, ripe tomato of the summer!
N.C. MedAssist Returns to Region with Over the Counter Medicine Giveaway
For those with chronic diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure, going without medication should not be an option. But for someone who has no insurance, having to choose between buying medications or food for the family is a harsh reality.
With a grant from Triangle North Healthcare Foundation, N.C. MedAssist, a nonprofit pharmacy, has removed that dilemma for many uninsured patients with chronic conditions in the four counties served by the Foundation—Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin. Based in Charlotte, N.C. MedAssist provides prescriptions by mail to uninsured clients enrolled in the program.
N.C. MedAssist will return to our region with their Over-the-Counter Medicine Give Away, scheduled Tuesday, February 28th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Armory in Warrenton.
Hosted by the Warren County Health Department, the OTC Giveaway is open to any individual or family needing OTC medication. Identification is not required to participate.
Triangle North Healthcare Foundation is pleased to support the Over the Counter Medicine Program. We know that even with insurance, many individuals cannot afford those products that could enable them to treat things like fever, pain, and minor cuts at home. The Give Away helps those individuals fill their medicine cabinets with needed items such as children’s Tylenol, cold medicines, vitamins, and even Band-Aids.
This will be the first OTC event held in Warren County, but the fourth event sponsored by Triangle North Healthcare Foundation in the region. In September 2016, a similar event was held in Granville County and drew over 800 participants.
Again, individuals will receive $100 worth of OTC product which includes items such as allergy relief, pain relief, indigestion relief, cold medicine, and first-aid supplies.
It takes a lot of partners to make an event like this happen. In addition to the Warren County Health Department, NC MedAssist is collaborating with Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, Franklin-Vance-Warren Opportunity, The Help Center of North Carolina to recruit community members to serve in roles such as pharmacy consultation, client personal shoppers, and OTC sorters.
Founded in 1997, NC MedAssist is a statewide non-profit pharmacy that provides free prescription medicines to low-income, uninsured North Carolinians. MedAssist offers three programs that address the needs of children and adults: the Free Pharmacy program, the Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medicine program, and the Senior Care program. MedAssist dispenses more than $39 million worth of free prescription medication to 14,000 low-income North Carolinians each year. To learn more about NC MedAssist and find out how to get involved, visit www.medassist.org, or call 704.350.3567.