FHLI Secures Funding to Improve and Advocate for Behavioral Health Needs of North Carolina’s Children and Adolescents

The new program, funded by The Duke Endowment, will be led by FHLI’s Center for Excellence for Integrated Care team

CARY— The Center of Excellence for Integrated Care (COE) — a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI) — has received a grant from The Duke Endowment to lead a three-year program focused on child and adolescent behavioral health. The emphasis of the project is on advocacy for mental health check-ups for children, as well as on training for behavioral health professionals to provide pediatric and family assessments and interventions.

“North Carolina’s health care workforce is doing amazing work every day with well-child exams and preventative services for children and adolescents,” said Dr. Amelia Muse, COE’s Program Director. “However, after the hardships of the past year, it’s time to answer the call for more support for providers, families, and communities on preventative and interventive behavioral health care.”

With a dual emphasis on advocacy and workforce development, The Duke Endowment has provided support for this program that will include partners from the i2i Center for Integrative Health and the North Carolina Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program.

The COE team will partner with i2i to convene a workgroup of family members, advocates in children’s welfare, and representatives of practitioners to develop a sustainability plan to embed annual behavioral health well-child checks into medical protocols and practices, with a focus on the need for insurance coverage. This additional focus on behavioral health during or in conjunction with the well-child check will bring North Carolina alongside other leadership states, who have worked to support pediatricians, children, and families with additional behavioral health emphasis.

“With our more than 34 years of collaboration and advocacy experience addressing behavioral, I-DD, SUD, and primary healthcare, i2i is well-suited to lead this advocacy effort,” said i2i Executive Director Ann Rodriguez. “We are thrilled to partner with FHLI, COE and NC AHEC on this critical initiative. The pandemic and North Carolina’s Medicaid transformation efforts have created an opportunity to ramp up integrated, preventative care practices across the state and strengthen whole-child care.”

Simultaneously, the COE team will partner with North Carolina AHEC to address workforce development issues by offering a continuing education opportunity for a cohort of 45 licensed behavioral health providers and ten graduate student interns currently working with youth and families. The one-year specialized training program will focus on mental health and substance use prevention, assessment, and intervention for children and adolescents and their families.

The second year of the program will train a second cohort of behavioral health professionals, with the first cohort of graduates acting as peer supervisors to assist with oversight and case consultation. The training curriculum will be informed by evidence-based literature, as well as by information collected from regularly held workgroup meetings of child and family advocates, youth, family members and providers advising on policy to support child and adolescent behavioral health wellness.

“At the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation, we are committed to cultivating a culture of innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking,” said Kelly Calabria, FHLI’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Given how COVID-19 has exacerbated an already-dire need for behavioral health services for all North Carolinians, we believe this work — led by our team behavioral health experts — is the type of innovative thinking that is needed. We thank the Duke Endowment for recognizing this need and for trusting FHLI to drive a solution.”

About FHLI’s Center of Excellence for Integrated Care
The Center of Excellence for Integrated Care (COE) — a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation — supports the clinical, operational, and financial transformation of health systems to provide whole-person care. COE’s integrated care experts support communities in providing whole-person care and reducing the stigma of behavioral health for patients and providers. Learn more at www.coeintegratedcare.org.

About the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation
The Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI) is a nonprofit organization that envisions healthy communities across North Carolina where everyone can flourish. FHLI develops and supports innovative partnerships that build a healthier North Carolina through collaboration and respect. With a long history in the state — and a deep understanding of its health care needs — FHLI scales solutions that benefit the entire state. FHLI staff are thought leaders and experts who bring communities together for a better, healthier North Carolina. Learn more at www.foundationhli.org.

About i2i Center for Integrative Health
The i2i Center for Integrative Health is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission it is to foster collaborative and evidence-based initiatives for improving the quality and efficacy of the behavioral health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use care and support service systems within a comprehensive system of whole-person care. Learn more at https://i2icenter.org.

About North Carolina AHEC
The North Carolina AHEC Program provides and supports educational activities and services with a focus on primary care in rural communities and those with less access to resources to recruit, train, and retain the workforce needed to create a healthy North Carolina. Learn more at https://www.ncahec.net.

About The Duke Endowment
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 $4 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

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For more information, contact:
Marni Schribman, Director of Communications & Public Relations
Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI)
Marni.schribman@foundationhli.org
919-259-4547

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2021

CARY—The North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC) has announced that Assistant Surgeon General Dr. Timothy L. Ricks will give the keynote address at their annual event, Oral Health Day, on July 21, 2021. RADM Ricks is scheduled to discuss the state of oral health, inequities and barriers facing Americans, COVID-19’s impact on care, and opportunities for innovation in his address.

“We are incredibly excited to have a national figure like Assistant Surgeon General Ricks join us for Oral Health Day this year,” said Dr. Zachary Brian, NCOHC’s director. “Rear Admiral Ricks is a tireless champion for oral health for our nation’s most underserved populations, and his voice will underscore the importance of the policy agenda we’ve set forth for 2021 and beyond.”

In addition to serving as Assistant Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Ricks is the Chief Dental Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, where he has worked in various roles for 21 years.

Oral Health Day is an annual event hosted by NCOHC, a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation. The event features speakers with expertise in innovative approaches to improve equity and access to oral health care. 

The July 21st event will be held virtually from 10 a.m. to noon and is free of charge. Anyone interested in attending can register at https://oralhealthnc.org/ohday2021/

About FHLI’s North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative
The North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC), a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation, works to advance systems-level changes, 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, and through collaboration, listening, and knowledge-sharing, NCOHC works to provide maximum impact in achieving optimal oral health care for all North Carolina communities. 

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For more information, contact:
Marni Schribman, Director of Communications & Public Relations
Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation
Marni.schribman@foundationhli.org
919-259-4547

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2021

NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance Releases Snapshot of Opportunities to Improve Rural Health Throughout the State 

2021 North Carolina Rural Health Snapshot shows “two North Carolinas” when it comes to health and wellness 

CARY— The NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance — a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI) — released its inaugural 2021 North Carolina Rural Health Snapshot, an advocacy resource that examines State-specific health indicators to demonstrate the wide gulf in access to quality health care between North Carolinians living in rural areas and the rest of the State.

“Rural hospitals and their community partners have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, serving and protecting their communities despite many of them struggling financially,” said Emily Roland, state director of programs for the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation and chair of the NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance. “This snapshot catalogues the variety of critical factors impacting the health of our rural neighbors and serves as a platform for championing comprehensive solutions to ensure access to healthcare, workforce, education, and social resources essential to all of us.” 

Recognizing the importance of geography for affordable access to care and health status, the 2021 North Carolina Rural Health Snapshot aims to identify opportunities for North Carolina to improve how the health system serves its rural population.

Based on the assessment of more than 30 health indicators specific to North Carolina, the report finds that there are often two North Carolinas when it comes to health care, with sharp disparities between urban and rural areas of the state. Wide differences in health care for rural populations are particularly pronounced in the areas of affordable access to care, preventive care, dental disease, maternal health, food security, and premature death.

“It is of vital importance that we ensure all North Carolinians have the opportunity to be healthy and have access to affordable, quality health care regardless of where they call home,” said Patrick Woodie, President of the NC Rural Center and co-chair of the NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance. “This snapshot offers insight into the opportunity to expand these critical, quality-of-life services to our rural citizens and narrow the disparate divide.” 

The 2021 North Carolina Rural Health Snapshot found the following:

  • 80 counties in North Carolina have too few primary care providers.
    • Many counties also need more dental and/or behavioral health providers.
  • Rural NC men’s (45 and older) suicide rate is higher than their non-rural peers. 
  • After accounting for differences in age, the Veteran suicide rate in North Carolina is significantly higher than the overall national suicide rate.
  • Rural youth are twice as likely to commit suicide than their non-rural peers.
    • And have less available help – 34 counties have no licensed psychologists.
  • Only 35.1% of dentists participate in Medicaid in North Carolina. 
    • NC is 37th worst in dentist participation in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
    • Three North Carolina counties have no practicing dentists.

The NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance and its members offer the information contained within the 2021 report to open discussions with health and community leaders, and ultimately to develop collaborative solutions to increase the opportunities for health and wellness in our State’s rural communities. 

The 2021 North Carolina Rural Health Snapshot is available online at bit.ly/2021snapshot.

About FHLI’s NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance

A program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI), the North Carolina Rural Health Leadership Alliance is a collaborative network of associations, organizations, and individuals representing healthcare, education, economic development, local government, and a variety of rural stakeholders invested in supporting rural health. It is committed to amplifying the voice of North Carolina’s rural communities with the intention of improving the health and well-being of all citizens. NCRHLA is currently recognized by the National Rural Health Association as North Carolina’s state rural health association.

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For more information, contact:
Marni Schribman, Director of Communications & Public Relations
Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation
Marni.schribman@foundationhli.org
919-259-4547

Morales Burke will work closely with new President and CEO, Kelly Calabria, to chart FHLI’s long-term strategy

CARY — The Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI), a leading North Carolina nonprofit supporting whole-person health throughout the state, announced today that Barbara Morales Burke has joined the organization as Vice President of NCCARE360 and Strategy.

“Barbara is well-known throughout our state, and the nation, for personally and professionally acting as a champion for whole-person health,” said FHLI’s President and Chief Executive Officer Kelly Calabria. “I can think of no better person to lead FHLI’s involvement with NCCARE360, working closely with our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services, and to help shape FHLI’s strategy as our state faces an unprecedented opportunity to improve health and ensure health equity.”

Morales Burke is a seasoned executive with more than 30 years of experience helping to lead government agencies — as well as private and non-profit organizations — through complex challenges. She has particular expertise in health care, insurance, government, public policy, strategy and public affairs. In her professional roles, as well as in her personal community service endeavors, Morales Burke has focused on increasing people’s well-being and opportunities — whether through regulatory, public or fiscal policy, effective government, or delivery of community support services.

Morales Burke served as Vice President of Health Policy at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina from 2009 through 2020, where she engaged with state and federal regulatory agencies on policy in the insurance and health care space, and on behalf of the Company, helped shape industry trade associations’ positions on regulatory and legislative policy. Much of this work was focused on the Affordable Care Act, improving access to care, and increasing affordability.

Prior to moving to the private sector, Morales Burke had a 24-year career in public service, primarily in North Carolina state government, and culminating in a position as the number two at a state agency led by an independently elected statewide official. Morales Burke served the citizens of North Carolina for 20 years – 16 with the N.C. Department of Insurance (NCDOI), where she held a variety of progressively responsible leadership positions, including Chief Deputy Commissioner. One of her earliest roles at NCDOI was Deputy Commissioner for Managed Care, where she was responsible for developing foundational regulatory product policy and enforcement for managed care health plans in North Carolina. In later roles, her responsibility for regulatory policy expanded to include all types of insurance and all functional areas of regulation. During her tenure, she played a key role in creating a pioneering state program to provide consumers with an independent external medical review of health insurer medical denials, as well as the development of a health insurance pool for individuals deemed “high-risk” and who were unable to obtain private coverage.

Morales Burke joins FHLI at a time of evolution and growth for the organization. Calabria joined FHLI as the new President and CEO in December, joining a dedicated team of experts who lead programs that include the Bernstein Fellows program, Center of Excellence for Integrated Care, NC Oral Health Collaborative, NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance, PRISM, Results NC, and Rural Forward NC. 

“This is a team that has a mature understanding of equity,” said Morales Burke. “This team knows that the only way to address the most granular community challenges, is to empower the community to participate in the discussion. These are the reasons I joined the FHLI team.” 

Morales Burke is Board Chair of Wake County Smart Start and Board Vice Chair of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina. She is active in the food bank community, and previously served on the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina’s Board. Barbara also serves in an advisory role to the Board of Feeding the Carolinas, and to the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (Health Improvement Advisory Committee.)

About FHLI

The Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI) is a nonprofit organization that envisions healthy communities across North Carolina where everyone can flourish. FHLI develops and supports innovative partnerships that build a healthier North Carolina through collaboration and respect. With a long history in the state — and a deep understanding of its health care needs — FHLI scales solutions that benefit the entire state. FHLI staff are thought leaders and experts who bring communities together for a better, healthier North Carolina. Learn more at www.foundationhli.org

About NCCARE360

NCCARE360 is the first statewide network that unites health care and human services organizations with a shared technology that enables a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach for delivering care in North Carolina. NCCARE360 is the result of a strong public-private partnership between the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI). The NCCARE360 implementation team includes United Way of NC, NC 2-1-1, Expound Decision Systems, and Unite Us.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2021

Governor Cooper’s Executive Order Allows Dentists to Assist in Accelerating Statewide Vaccination Effort
FHLI’s NC Oral Health Collaborative partners offer guidance that allows dentists to join the vaccine workforce.

CARY—North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced Executive Order #193 on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, formally incorporating dentists into the COVID-19 vaccine workforce.

“Many dentists across our state are ready and willing to help do their part in addressing this pandemic,” said Dr. Zachary Brian, director of the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC), a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI). “Getting the vaccine to as many people, as quickly and safely as possible, is something dentists are uniquely positioned to do.”

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, NCOHC identified dentists as a valuable component of an interdisciplinary approach to bringing the spread of the virus under control.

“Our state can benefit from having every trained, qualified health professional working together to help meet the challenges of efficiently, effectively vaccinating North Carolinians,” said Ben Popkin, FHLI’s political strategist.
Cooper’s executive order allows a broad range of health care professionals to join the vaccination workforce, extending measures the administration has put in place to combat the pandemic.

“The North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative is pleased to have worked with Governor Cooper’s office to help finalize this executive order,” said Brian. “We appreciate the efforts they and others took to make this happen.”
With Cooper’s executive order, North Carolina joins more than 20 states in including dentists in their COVID-19 vaccination workforces, according to the American Dental Association.

About FHLI’s North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative
The North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC), a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation, works to advance systems-level changes, 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, and through collaboration, listening, and knowledge-sharing, NCOHC works to provide maximum impact in achieving optimal oral health care for all North Carolina communities.

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For more information, contact:
Marni Schribman, Director of Communications & Public Relations
Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation
Marni.schribman@foundationhli.org
919-259-4547

by Calvin Allen
Program Director
Rural Forward NC

COVID-19 is NC’s latest forecasted hurricane, but will its largest impacts on our most vulnerable be visible? 

We may not have experience with a disease like coronavirus, but in this current health crisis, we can see patterns of the natural disasPeople Working Togetherters that North Carolina knows too well. As the Public Education Team of the NC Inclusive Disaster Recovery Network, our organizations support our state’s public health experts in their call to wash our hands frequently, be thoughtful about travel and gathering with crowds of people, and to combat fear and anxiety as much as we combat the virus itself. We also offer lessons we have learned from the many hurricanes NC has faced. 

Like hurricanes, losses are likely to fall most heavily on people who are already having the hardest time, especially in rural communities, communities of color, communities of lower wealth, and others with special needs. 

Like hurricanes, those who are most affected are likely to be absent from planning the response and recovery — ignoring or eroding the strengths, creativity, and social networks that are present in every community. 

While small rural communities may benefit from their relative distance, an outbreak will further tax their stretched resources from previous disasters and threaten their access to needed services. 

However, unlike a hurricane, the damage from COVID-19 will be less visible. Flooded homes and businesses are easier to see than the loss of income for workers and small businesses. The emphasis on social distancing means that even the threat of an outbreak may be financially devastating to businesses as employees and customers self-quarantine or care for family members. These losses translate into missed mortgage or rent payments, high credit card bills, and long-term financial instability. 

Based on the broad collaboration that we deployed after our recent hurricanes, we know that it is critical for our state to use policies, public dollars and public institutions to provide income, job and housing security so people who are affected can stay home when their safety is threatened and seek treatment when they are ill. We can also advocate for and invest in local talent instead of bringing in contractors from outside the state, focusing job training on communities where the need for jobs is greatest and people are most likely to be affected. And we can create and participate in accessible opportunities for collaboration in the planning and response process. 

Just as hurricane relief gives way to recovery, North Carolina’s public and private organizations can help communities and community leaders prepare for the broader impacts of this epidemic. Those who have the least should not suffer the most, regardless of whether the disaster is wind, water, or a virus. 

The Public Education Team is the outreach arm of the NC Inclusive Disaster Recovery Network – a collaborative of public, private, non-profit, and faith organizations seeking avenues for community voice and equitable access to resources in the disaster recovery system. 

Public Education Team – Member Organizations 

  • Budget and Tax Center
  • Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation
  • NC Association of Community Development Organizations
  • NC Housing Coalition
  • NC Justice Center
  • NC Pro Bono Resource Center
  • Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA

 

Contact Calvin Allen, Director, Rural Forward NC for more information about the NC Inclusive Disaster Recovery Network.

CARY— The North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC), a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI), has released a statewide map of emergency oral health resources for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The map is a first-of-its-kind resource to help patients with urgent oral health needs to find nearby Federally Qualified Health Centers, county health departments, free and charitable clinics, and other safety net practices.

“Oral health issues won’t just disappear as we continue to navigate this crisis, but we must reduce strain on our emergency departments, which is just one benefit that we hope this resource will provide,” said Dr. Zachary Brian, NCOHC’s program director. “The clinics and practice sites on this map are additional options to consider for urgent needs before visiting an ED, and we hope that communities across the state find this resource helpful.”

North Carolinians visit emergency departments for non-traumatic oral health issues at twice the national rate. While oral health providers have been prompted to postpone all elective procedures—following guidance from the American Dental Association and the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners—many are available to see patients who would otherwise have to seek care at an emergency department. 

If patients require care for an urgent oral health need, it is recommended that they find a nearby practice, but to call before going in. Practice sites may have special guidance to ensure the safety of staff and patients alike. Additionally, due to the strain on the entire public health system, hours of operation are subject to change. 

NCOHC developed its provider map in part to support the UNC Adams School of Dentistry’s efforts to provide safe ways for patients to manage oral health care while reducing strain on the healthcare system. NCOHC’s provider map will be updated regularly as new information is available. To access the map, visit https://oralhealthnc.org/covid-19/.  

If someone is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, they are urged to call 911 immediately.