Community health program launched via historic grant

Alleviating chronic health concerns like heart disease and diabetes before they begin is the goal of a new county wide initiative to improve the health and wellness of area residents. The vehicle to accomplish this is the newly formed Brunswick County Community Wellness Coalition, made possible through a $450,000 grant from The Duke Endowment's Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas program. It's the largest amount that Dosher Memorial Hospital has received in its 86-year history.

While the aim of Dosher's program is a lofty one, Dosher Foundation President Lynda Stanley said at a news conference on January 10 that it's an important part of improving the health of Brunswick County residents.

Dosher is working with Population Health Improvement Partners, Morrisville, to plan the specific programs, which will begin in a few months, Dosher Hospital President & CEO Tom Siemers told reporters.

The Brunswick County Health Department, New Hope Clinic, and YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina are the first three members of the Community Wellness Coalition which will be adding other community and business organizations.

Dr. Scott Starks, a retired orthopedic surgeon who chairs the Coalition, said at the conference he's seen firsthand how much the area needs programs to address education and healthy living practices.

"This program will accomplish just that," he said. Starks also is a member of the Dosher Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees. Stanley added that the group expects the community to see measurable improvement in health and wellness, including fewer instances of heart disease and diabetes, for example, as a result of the grant.

One of the next steps is to recruit a coordinator to implement the program, Siemers said. The Coalition will spend $150,000 of the grant funds per year for three years to implement the health-improvement program. An announcement on further details is planned this spring. For more information, call the Dosher Foundation at 910-457- 3850.

Dosher is the first independent critical access hospital to receive such a grant. This is the second year of grant awards through the Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas program. Read more at www.dukeendowment.org.

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.


Dosher Foundation President Lynda Stanley (center), discusses the grant with Brunswick County Health Department Director David Stanley and New Hope Clinic Executive Director Sheila Roberts.

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