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Grants to support healthy lifestyles

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By Amelia Harper
Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has awarded two grants to local organizations to help support healthy lifestyle initiatives in the Twin County.

The trust awarded $249,487 this year in grant money to the Conetoe Family Life Center. The center recently announced that it is expanding its existing partnership with 21 area faith-based groups to offer support to patients in need of additional resources when leaving the hospital.

The work is a part of Healthy Places NC, the The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust’s long-term initiative aimed at improving the quality of life and health in rural North Carolina counties.

The landmark collaboration between the Conetoe Family Life Center and its faith-based partners is known as its Community Health Model. The model addresses chronic diseases by increasing access to healthy-living options and delivering onsite health education, screenings and preventive care. The $289,487 grant was awarded by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to support the faith-based partnership as it works to reduce emergency room visits, increase preventative care visits and identify best practices that others can replicate, according to a press release from the trust.

The Coneto Family Life Center and the coalition of local churches came together to agree that their focus should be on improving the health of the community. All involved congregations agreed to establish a healthy eating program in their churches, as well as one in the communities surrounding their churches.

The Community Health Model encourages each church to plant a garden and to use lay health workers to connect church and community members to the resources they need to improve their health. The Conetoe Family Life Center sponsors lay health training through Edgecombe Community College, which is now a certified lay health training facility. Trained lay health workers support patients recently discharged from the hospital by continuing to monitor their blood pressure and medication intake, which in turn will help reduce the number of visits to the emergency room and improve community health overall.

“The goal of our work is to engage and inform the whole community by providing educational programs, nutrition guidance and leadership training,” said Dr. Garrie Moore, executive director of the Conetoe Family Life Center. “Improving health and well-being in a rural, low-wealth community is achievable but requires all of us, on an on-going basis, to take care of each other. I’m grateful for the trust’s support and we are eager to continue our work.”

East Carolina Health also received a $114,940 grant this year to bring together medical providers interested in sharing data to improve care for patients with the highest need. This partnership, led by Vidant Edgecombe Hospital in Tarboro, also includes the area’s federally qualified health centers, the regional health systems and the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine, according to the trust.

The Twin Counties joined the Healthy Places NC initiative in early 2015. The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust Trust will invest $100 million in 10 to 12 rural counties over a 10-year period. To date, the trust has invited seven counties, including Edgecombe and Nash counties, to participate and plans to announce additional counties in the coming years. In each county, Healthy Places’ work and projects are driven by community’s concerns and the opportunity for sustainable, long-term change.

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