PINEHURST – FirstHealth of the Carolinas’ First-In-Health 2020 Task Forces in Montgomery and Richmond counties have received a $450,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to fund the Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas project from January 2016 to December 2018. FirstHealth was one of five health care organizations across the state to receive the funding.
“It is an honor to be selected as one of the first five Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas grantees,” says John Jackson, president of FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital. “This opportunity will foster a collaborative effort with resources and technical assistance guidance that will result in improved health for both counties.”
The Montgomery and Richmond First-In-Health 2020 Task Forces are led by FirstHealth in partnership with health departments, school systems, Cooperative Extension offices, Community Care of the Sandhills, school nurses, school health centers, municipal government, Housing Authority, businesses and citizens at-large.
These partners use data from the FirstHealth Community Health Needs Assessment to determine the top health priorities on which to focus prevention efforts. Established in 2007, the 2020 groups have a history of engaging the community in work focused on obesity, chronic disease and substance abuse prevention.
The Duke grant will be used to address diabetes and heart disease in the funded counties through the implementation of evidence-based interventions and purposeful evaluation. Preventive health screenings and links to primary care services will also be included in the scope of work. The program will challenge partners to work together and address health disparities in the region.
The 2020 task force groups will form one coalition that will be a catalyst for sharing lessons learned, successes, challenges and outcomes in implementing the interventions.
According to the Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by FirstHealth through Professional Research Consultants, 24.5 percent of residents in Montgomery County and 28 percent of residents in Richmond County self-reported being diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes as compared to the state average of 13 percent.
The heart disease mortality rate in Richmond County is also significantly higher than the state average (238.5 per 100,000 compared to 170 per 100,000).
“We are extremely grateful to The Duke Endowment for the funding to address the health issues at large in Montgomery and Richmond counties,” says Beth Walker, president of FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital. “Our 2020 task forces have been working together on interventions for a number of years, and this funding will allow for more creative strategies for health initiatives throughout both counties.”
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.