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RCCHC awarded health equity grant

AHOSKIE – Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center announced on Aug. 31 it was included among the awardees of the first round of grants issued by Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity.

The Fund for Health Equity mobilizes financial resources for community health centers, free and charitable clinics, and other nonprofit organizations focused on non-clinical interventions that affect a person’s health – commonly known as the social determinants of health, these factors include a person’s physical, social, political, cultural, and economic environments.

The grants were awarded with support from the AbbVie Foundation, which seeded the Fund for Health Equity with a $10 million donation as part of its commitment to support underserved Black and other communities across the United States.

“This initial round of grants from the AbbVie Foundation and Direct Relief recognizes organizations like Roanoke Chowan Community Health that are in the trenches every day supporting their communities which are impacted the most in terms of health disparities,” said Dr. Byron Scott, MD, MBA, Co-Chair of the Fund for Health Equity and Board Director of Direct Relief and Chair of its Medical Advisory Council. “I am humbled that both AbbVie and Direct Relief can help these organizations with their goals of improving health and wellness, including eliminating health inequities.”

Roanoke Chowan Community Health was awarded the grant to fund a new mobile clinic operation, which will serve public housing and mobile park residents in Black communities throughout rural northeastern North Carolina. The mobile unit will also deploy to farms to care for migrant workers.

RCCHC officials said the mobile unit will focus on screening for chronic and communicable disease among historically underserved communities not currently served by a primary care provider. The goal is to create a trusting relationship with a health care provider for every patient the mobile unit serves by understanding each patient’s challenges and strengths.

“We are so very pleased to be awarded this incredible grant from our long-time partner Direct Relief through the Fund for Health Equity,” said RCCHC CEO Kim Schwartz. “These funds will help to equip our Mobile Unit Team to show up in communities across our five county service area that find it hard to get to one of our physical sites. This unit will provide the same quality of care available in our clinics, and remove the obstacles of transportation, in a convenient and private space that may even be in walking distance from home.”

“On behalf of our board, many thanks and lots of appreciation for the award received from Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity,” RCCHC Board Chair Deborah Morrison said. “This creates a bridge to our minority underserved communities and allows us the opportunity to reduce health disparities, and screen for chronic and communicable disease. It will also provide a link to a continuum of care with a provider that produces a trusting relationship to meet the patient’s needs.”

“We are proud to support Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity and these community-focused organizations that will lead the way in improving care in many communities,” said Laura Schumacher, Vice Chairman, External Affairs and Chief Legal Officer at AbbVie. “This is just the first step as the Fund continues to identify more organizations across the country that are addressing health disparities through evidence-based programs and interventions.”

The first round of funding, which totals $1.8 million, also went to the following organizations for their efforts to enhance workforce diversification, reduce health disparities, and expand innovative models of care:

Community Hope – Washington, DC

Institute for Family Health – New York

Martin Luther King Health Center and Pharmacy – Louisiana

Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services – Mississippi

Eskenazi Health – Indiana

Good Samaritan Health Center – Georgia

Health Brigade – Virginia

Delaware Valley Community Health, Inc. – Pennsylvania

The Night Ministry – Illinois