15th Annual Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Event Honors Healthcare Heroes, Raises Vital Funds to Develop Rural Leaders

Dr Jane McCaleb

The 2020 Jim Bernstein Community Health Career Achievement Award

CARY — The Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation is pleased to announce that participants, donors and sponsors of the 15th Annual Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Event raised more than $40,000 in support of the Jim Bernstein Community Health Leadership Fellows, and the Jim & Sue Bernstein Health Center Scholarship program, both of which focus on developing rural leaders of tomorrow so they can serve the communities they live in today.

For the past 15 years, FHLI has brought together healthcare professionals from all across North Carolina (and beyond) to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Jim Bernstein and the work being done to advance healthcare access and community health in North Carolina. In spite of being held virtually, participation at this year’s 15th anniversary event was strong, especially considering the challenging environment.

In addition to being a networking and knowledge-sharing opportunity, the annual event also serves as an occasion to recognize outstanding individuals for their extraordinary service toward the betterment of their communities. Dr. Jane McCaleb, former Medical Director of Roanoke Amaranth Community Health Group and longtime Northhampton County family medicine practitioner, was named the 2020 Jim Bernstein Community Health Career Achievement Award Honoree for her lifetime efforts to improve health, education and well-being for the communities she served.

Dr. Peter Morris

The 2020 Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation Community Achievement Award

Dr. Peter Morris, Executive Director of Urban Ministries of Wake County, was named the 2020 Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation Community Achievement Award winner for exemplifying a whole-person, whole-community approach to health, and for reflecting FHLI’s core values that everyone has a right to quality health care.

The recorded event – including welcome remarks by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen – is available on the FHLI Vimeo page at https://vimeo.com/467420998

About the Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Fellows Program

Dr. Jim Bernstein, the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation’s founder and first president, dedicated his life and work to improving healthcare in rural communities across North Carolina. An innovator and a motivator, he served as a role model for how to address some of the most difficult rural health care challenges. Throughout his career, Jim accomplished a great deal, but he knew that new challenges in rural health would continue to emerge as time went on. Knowing this, Jim made a point of preparing the next generation of rural health leaders to meet these challenges. The Jim Bernstein Community Health Leadership Fellows Program was founded in 2006 to honor Jim’s legacy of developing future leaders to carry on his work and legacy.

About the Jim & Sue Bernstein Health Center Scholarship Program

Awarded annually, these scholarships help to relieve some of the financial burden on employees of eligible rural health centers by helping to pay for both the clinical education of rural clinic staff members and the college education of their dependent in any area of interest. Since its inception in 2006, more than $100,000 has been awarded to more than 75 scholars.


SEPT. 14, 2020

CARY — Ninety-eight of North Carolina’s 100 counties have now been designated as Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (Dental HPSAs), according to new data released by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 

HRSA’s 2020 update represents a 32.4 percent increase from 2019 Dental HPSA designations, which classified 74 North Carolina counties as dental HPSAs. Now, Stokes and Orange counties are the only two without Dental HPSA designations, and both counties are currently under review. 

“The new data show a dramatic yet unfortunately unsurprising disparity in access to basic oral health care in North Carolina,” said Dr. Zachary Brian, director of the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC), a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI). 

Counties are designated as Dental HPSAs when there are not enough oral health professionals to meet communities’ needs. Dental HPSAs may be geographic, population, or facility-based, and all or part of a county may be designated. Among the new Dental HPSA designees are Wake and Buncombe counties, two of North Carolina’s counties with larger urban populations. 

“The data additionally underscore the idea that even in urban areas, access to oral health care is not available to all,” said Brian. “Just because you live around the corner from a dentist doesn’t mean you have access to care.” 

In addition to the number of dental professionals in a particular area, income, insurance coverage disparities, transportation insecurities, and a maldistribution of dentists across North Carolina’s counties, among other factors, all contribute to the overall lack of access to essential oral health care services.

NCOHC, which works to increase equity in oral health care, believes that effective policy reform will play an important role in increasing access amidst the growing shortage of oral health professionals in relation to North Carolina’s expanding population. In June 2020, NCOHC released a policy brief outlining opportunities at the state level and providing a road map to workforce and payment modifications that could help increase access to care for underrepresented and underserved North Carolinians. 

A close up of a map  Description automatically generated

HRSA’s map of Dental HPSAs in North Carolina. 
Any county with a score greater than 1 is considered a shortage area.

Additional Information

  • HPSA designations can cover an entire county or a part of a county. For example, the dental HPSA designation for Wake County only covers the eastern part of the county, and while Mecklenburg County as a whole is not a dental HPSA, Charlotte is. 
  • HPSA reviews such as the ones currently happening for Stokes and Orange Counties are typically performed when the Office of Rural Health receives a request to do so. In early 2020, the Oral Health Section of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services requested review of all undesignated counties, which triggered the increase in dental HPSAs. 


About FHLI’s North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative 

The North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative works to advance systems change, improving the overall health and well-being of all North Carolinians by increasing access and equity to oral health care. NCOHC seeks to influence policy at a statewide level, and through collaboration, listening, and knowledge-sharing, NCOHC works to provide maximum impact in achieving optimal oral health care for all North Carolina communities.

For more information, contact: 
Marni Schribman, Director of Communications & Public Relations