WILMINGTON—The University of North Carolina at Wilmington wants to make the counties in southeastern area of the state healthier.
The school, along with the Southeast North Carolina Regional Health Collaborative received a $150,000 grant from the N.C. GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, to help start a two-year planning phase for a regional health collaborative.
Dr. Charles Hardy, dean of the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) said the grant will enhance the culture of health and wellness in the state.
"Ultimately we see this expanding to a larger part of our region, as well as including multiple sectors...such as healthcare, education, business, and possibly even law enforcement,” said Dr. Hardy.
While it’s the final days of spring semester at UNCW, it’s the beginning of a new era in health for the school, faculty and students.
"It allows us to have access to more resources, it allows us to increase our reach, it allows us to have more visibility in our community and region for our work,” said Megan Gorham, UNCW Director of Development Corporate & Foundation Relations.
Over the next two years, funds will be allocated to help improve the health of individuals living in New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Brunswick and Columbus counties.
In a recent study of health topics like length of life, quality of life and health behaviors of the population, New Hanover County ranked 10th in the state, Onslow County ranked 24th, Pender County ranked 25th, Brunswick 24th and Columbus was ranked last (100th).
Dr. Hardy hopes the grant will help these outcomes improve permanently.
"The ultimate goal to me is to have a community that enhances a culture of health and life quality, because when communities take charge of their health, magic happens, impact happens and those county rankings will definitely improve,” said Dr. Hardy.
Dr. Hardy hopes once the grant is spent, the foundation, along with other organizations will re-invest and help the regional health collaborative plans happen.