The date is set! Please reserve October 5, 2017 from 6:00-9:00pm for the 12th Annual Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Fund Dinner supporting the Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Fellows Program. This premier event convenes health professionals and stakeholders from across North Carolina to network and learn from one another and to celebrate and honor past, present, and future contributions in our state’s health sector. To learn more about the event, click here.
Susan Martin has always been passionate about children’s health. A strong believer that no child should be left without access to care, she has opened both her heart and home to the issue. She spends the majority of her time volunteering for organizations, sitting on various committees and boards, and has previously served with her late husband as a foster parent for newborns with special needs.
“I’m just a normal person who has a strong faith, believes in family and that good health is just our human right,” Susan tells us. “I believe we have a responsibility to a fellow man, woman or child, to give them the opportunity to live a healthy productive life.”
This past October, at the 11th Annual Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Dinner, the Foundation received a generous donation from Susan to support the Bernstein Fellows program. We are extremely grateful for her contribution that will help to support the work being done to advance community health in North Carolina.
What first brought the Fellows program to Susan’s attention was Dr. Steve North, a previous Bernstein Fellow and current Foundation board member. Also passionate about children’s health, Dr. North used his fellowship to develop the Health-e-Schools school-based telemedicine program. He has continued work with this program as the founder of the Center for Rural Health Innovation, an organization focused on applying innovative technologies to improve access to health care in rural communities.
[box] “I have a great deal of admiration for Steve North,” Susan said. “Knowing his story, I wanted to get a better understanding of the other people involved.” [/box]
Impressed by what she learned about other Fellows and their projects, Susan decided to give the program more support. “I really like all the things I’ve read about,” she reflects. “The work they’re doing just makes sense, especially for our rural areas.”
To learn more about the Bernstein Fellows program, click here.
The Bernstein Fellows program is still looking for applicants for the Bernstein Fellows class of 2017-2019. The application deadline has been extended, and those interested can apply to the program now through May 12th!
To apply, click here.
Additionally, there will now be a pre-application webinar on Wednesday, April 19th from 12:00-12:45. Fellowship staff will explain the program and answer your questions about the application process. All potential applicants are encouraged to attend the webinar, but attendance is not required.
To register for the webinar, contact Rachel Presslein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[box] For more information about the fellowship and the application process, click here. [/box]
The Bernstein Fellows program is now looking for applicants for the Bernstein Fellows class of 2017-2019. To apply, click here.
What is the Bernstein Fellows program?
The Bernstein Fellows program commemorates the life and career of James D. Bernstein, North Carolina’s rural health pioneer who led the efforts for community-driven care of low- and moderate- income, isolated, and underserved populations for more than 30 years.
Who should apply?
Fellowships are awarded to up-and-coming health professionals from a variety of disciplines (primary care, pharmacy, behavioral health, oral health, social work, etc.).
- Work in an administrative or clinical capacity in a rural and/or underserved community in North Carolina or work with an organization that focuses on rural and/or underserved communities
- Demonstrate a strong commitment to remaining in North Carolina
- Demonstrate a strong commitment to underserved populations and community-driven health care
- Demonstrate leadership potential (such as, being a self-starter, resourceful, industrious, motivated, mature, resilient, a good communicator, problem-solver, and team player)
- Be sensitive to cultural diversity among client populations in health care settings and programs, and
- Hold realistic expectations about working in rural or underserved communities and with vulnerable populations
What does the fellowship involve?
Fellowships are awarded for two-year period (October 2017-October 2019) and are comprised of an educational component and and individual project centered on the core elements of leadership, rural life, NC health sector, and partnerships. Fellows will be expected to spend 10-12 percent of their work time on fellowship activities and will receive up to $3,000 in support of the developing his/her project.
[box] For more information about the fellowship and the application process, click here. [/box]
On October 19th and 20th more than 40 people from across North Carolina gathered at the NC State University McKimmon Center for the NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance’s (NCRHLA) inaugural events. The gathering kicked off on the 19th with an open reception that welcomed guests to learn more about the NCRHLA and connect new partners to its current members. The NCRHLA is a coordinated network of leaders and practitioners aimed at improving the health of rural North Carolinians through education and strategic partnerships. Their work is currently focused on achieving the recommendations of the NC Rural Health Action Plan.
On October 20th, a select group of participants from local, regional and state organizations supporting public health and economic development attended the Discovery & Practice Summit: Connections for Community Health and Economic Vitality. The goal of the Summit was to move North Carolina forward in improving economic and community health and wellbeing through collaboration. The Summit was organized on the premise that collaboration across sectors is essential for healthy, vibrant communities. The day was devoted to exploring opportunities for partnership between public health and economic development practitioners – just two of the many partners needed for successful community change. Through the day, sessions narrowed to focus on community strategies for healthy eating and active living (HEAL) that could have health and economic benefits.
Jamie Cousins, a current Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Fellow, led the coordination of the event. “Being a part of the Bernstein Fellowship, I’ve been inspired and challenged (in the best way) by Jim Bernstein’s commitment and leadership to rural North Carolina communities. The Summit and continued dialogue and action are humble efforts to carry forward his spirit and belief in our rural communities. I am truly grateful to the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust for the support which made the Summit a reality. The NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance provided financial support through the National Rural Health Leadership grant and was a terrific partner in this event.”
In review of the event, participants shared that the Summit was a valuable investment of their time and that the three primary objectives of the Summit were well-met:
- they were more aware of practical strategies that address the goals of public health and economic development while supporting healthy eating and active living;
- they could identify collaborative opportunities for professionals, advocates, and residents to advance economic vitality and health for all;
- they plan to take action to work jointly to advance public health and economic vitality.
Participants wrote Commitment Cards declaring at least one action to complete before the end of 2016. Most of the commitments involved reaching out to local partners such as economic development professionals or chambers of commerce to talk about opportunities for collaboration. Other commitments included sharing information from the Summit and connecting with agencies to move work forward together. As Jamie Cousins continues her Bernstein Fellowship and supports the ideas and new collaborations from the Summit, participants will be contacted in early January to learn how they’ve progressed. Additionally, Summit proceedings will be shared, and several small group discussions are planned to continue to advance dialogue and action.
The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the National Rural Health Association provided funding for the Summit, and the NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance, the Jim Bernstein Community Health Leadership Fellows Program, the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, and the NC Division of Public Health Community and Clinical Connections for Prevention and Health Branch all contributed resources for the event.
The Foundation would like to congratulate the Bernstein Fellows Class of 2013-2015 on their completion of the fellowship program.
- Sarah Brill Thach, MPH: The Center for Healthy Aging at the Mountain Area Health Education Center
- Joanne Rinker, MS: Director of Training and Technical Assistance at the Center for Healthy North Carolina
- Marian Sadler Aldridge, MPH: Community Development Specialist at the Buncombe County Department of Health
- Jill Boesel, MPH: Project Coordinator for Physician Practice Services with Community Care of North Carolina
- Amelia Mahan, MSW, Behavioral Health Program Manager at Community Care of North Carolina
The Foundation is pleased to welcome its newest class of Bernstein Fellows. Five dynamic professionals will participate in the fellowship program through October 2017, they are:
- Pete McQuiston: Director of Food and Nutrition at Swain Community Hospital in Bryson City, NC
- Rod Jenkins MHA: Deputy Health Director for Cumberland County, North Carolina
- Erin Hultgren, MPH: Program Manager at Gaston Family Health Services, Inc.
- Catherine Parker, MA: Director of Hertford County Student Wellness Center, a division of Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center.
- Jamie Cousins, MPA: Program Manager for the Catalyst for Health Eating and Active Living
We’d like to thank retiring program Director, John H. Frank, for his leadership in the program since 2010. During his time as Director, he strengthened the curriculum, increased the number of programmatic partnerships, and guided thirteen Fellows through completion of the fellowship. The Foundation is extremely fortunate and grateful for John’s leadership and dedication to the Fellows Program.
We also welcome Tom Bacon, DrPH, as the new Director of the Fellows Program. Tom is the retired Executive Associate Dean and NC AHEC Program Director, and he continues to work as a part-time Research Fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Foundation is excited and grateful for Tom’s commitment and leadership in continuing and developing the Fellows program.
It takes a cooperative and effective workforce to accomplish value-based, quality-driven care. Ron Gaskins, executive director of Access East, is an alumni of the Jim Bernstein Fellows program. Gaskins is leveraging healthcare communities in the direction of team-based care.
Access East is a nonprofit located in Greenville, NC, whose mission is to improve the health status of the underserved and indigent in eastern North Carolina through enhancing access to quality health care and implementing and coordinating healthcare delivery models. Access East is part of Community Care of North Carolina, a care network that’s evolved over 25 years, with support from the NCFAHP.
“We provide wrap around services for high-risk Medicaid patients with an interdisciplinary team focus,” said Gaskins, “We deploy care managers to the home in a timely fashion in order to keep patients out of the hospital.”
The interdisciplinary team at Access East and their partners collaborate with primary care providers in an ambulatory setting to proactively engage and manage chronically ill patients before their conditions become severe enough to merit care in higher-cost, more acute settings such as the emergency room. Access East uses a vast network of professionals (e.g., registered nurses, social workers, pharmacy technicians, pharmacists, patient advocates, health coaches, etc.) to support its initiatives, which encompass transitional care, medication management, pediatrics, chronic pain, palliative care, and behavioral health integration. The goal is to navigate patients to the right level of care.
“Workforce development is key,” said Gaskins. “As value-based reimbursement becomes more and more prevalent, the right prescription of team-based care will be vital in effectively managing populations.” Access East has built a workforce infrastructure to ensure the transition to proactive and coordinated care. “This infrastructure requires a holistic framework around workforce diversity that taps into the many different backgrounds and experiences that professionals can bring to the job,” Gaskins added.
The constant need for more healthcare professionals looms in the background of every conversation on rural health. “More primary care physicians are needed, of course,” said Gaskins, “but to meet the demands in care that the coming decades will bring with baby boomers retiring and medicine extending lives longer will require using mid-level providers (i.e., nurse practitioners and physician assistants) to fill in the gaps. Moreover, connecting support staff such as nurses, social workers, and community health coaches with direct providers, we will begin creating team-based care models that can further assist in engaging patients and improving health outcomes.”
Gaskins gives the example of boosting the role of pharmacists in the coordination of value-based care. “The data tells us that Medicaid patients on average visit their primary-care provider two to four times a year, while they see their community pharmacy close to 20 times a year,” said Gaskins. “With this frequency of exposure to the patient, it makes perfect sense to engage the pharmacist out in the community more on chronic disease management.”
To accomplish this, Access East is partnering with Community Care of North Carolina on a project called Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN) that financially rewards community pharmacists for conducting on-site education around medication management when people pick up their prescription, and reporting any important information back to the patients care manager and primary care provider. “We see the potential of expanding the medical home to more of a medical neighborhood mentality that encourages the cross-pollination of professional disciplines throughout the community,” Gaskins said. What’s needed to empower a workforce that drives value-based care? “Strong community connections, solid care coordination, and holistic, interdisciplinary teams,” he said. “We’re piloting projects to see what works.”
The Foundation is excited to announce Ron Gaskins, Bernstein Class of 2011—2013, as the first Distinguished Fellows Award Recipient. Ron will receive this award at the 10th Annual Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Dinner on October 8th, 2015.