Everyone deserves to be healthy regardless of status, resources or circumstances. Equity within health and wellness occurs when people can attain their full health potential. No one should be disadvantaged in this opportunity. The Health and Wellness strategic portfolio aims to support access to care and improving on current conditions, as well as upstream interventions and social determinants of health.
Dogwood’s COVID-19 initiatives have been central to our early work in health and wellness, along with bold goals to address substance use disorder. As we build out our long-range goals and objectives for health and wellness (see below), we are interested in learning more about work currently happening throughout Western North Carolina, and invite organizations to start a conversation with us to share your ideas, plans and projects.
A partnership between Dogwood and Mountain Community Health Partnership (MCHP) brings dental services to low-income, uninsured adults and children at the Bakersville Community Medical Clinic. State and national dental health reports indicated that over 50% of adults in MCHP’s service area have had a permanent tooth removed because of tooth decay or gum disease, approximately 25% of children have not had an oral health exam in over a year and 18% of children have experienced oral health problems. MCHP continues to keep dental health accessible as more residents experience job loss and health insurance in the wake of COVID-19.
Located in Henderson County, El Centro is home to many programs, including the Latino Advocacy Coalition (LAC). For the past 14 years, LAC has provided support for the Latinx community throughout WNC, including English and Spanish classes, after-school tutoring, GED classes, family mutual support programs, civic education, free and low-cost counseling and cognitive, trauma and grief therapy and cooperative programs with state and local officials. This small-but-mighty organization was ready to take the next step toward stability and growth, and Dogwood’s capacity-building support will help LAC’s staff of three add a new administrative and fundraising professional. This new team member is creating a broad fundraising campaign for LAC and supporting the growth of new programs and partnerships.
Helpmate works to eliminate abuse and fear by providing safety, shelter and support for victims and survivors of intimate partner domestic violence. Dogwood funds support the work of Helpmate’s case managers, who help victims address the impacts of domestic violence on housing, employment, transportation and childcare. Helpmate offers case management at each of its three service locations: the Buncombe County Family Justice Center, the Buncombe County Courthouse and its emergency shelter that serves the highest-need survivors who face lethal danger from ex-partners and who are homeless due to the abuse they have experienced. Helpmate also offers specialized child and family advocacy case management services, which help reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences among children exposed to domestic violence.
The Public Health and Human Services division of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) serves an important role in the community by providing enrolled members with information and communications regarding public health and safety. Having a modern, mobile-friendly, easy-to-navigate website is important, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dogwood provided funding to the EBCI to update its website to better serve its members and share critical messaging about COVID-safe behaviors and vaccine safety and availability.
The McDowell Local Food Advisory Council’s (LFAC) Foothills Food Hub addresses food insecurity, supports the local food economy and works to transform the food system and public health infrastructure of McDowell County. The Hub offers farmers services related to produce packing and storage and serves as an aggregation site for farmers who want to diversify their market opportunities. It also provides a central hub where donated food can be delivered in bulk and stored for pickup by partner agencies and food pantries of all sizes. As COVID-19 strained the resources of households throughout the county, Dogwood realized the need for additional food support for the community and has provided three grants in partnership with the Food Council to support the growth of the LFAC to connect local farmers with people in need. Dogwood’s Leverage Fund helped the LFAC secure an additional grant to build its dream Food Hub space. The Food Hub provides food, much of it local, to over 1,000 families every week.
Vecinos has historically served migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Their partnership with Dogwood enables them to extend services to a broader range of individuals and offer bilingual, culturally-appropriate healthcare to uninsured, low-income Latinx community members in seven WNC counties. They collaborate with community leaders to bring medical care and wrap-around services, such as healthy food, safe housing and legal services to the Latinx population. With Dogwood’s support, Vecinos expanded community health worker services to families in need during COVID-19 to integrate chronic disease management and start a community engagement program in WNC’s seven westernmost counties.
Support communities that promote healthy living and resiliency and help mitigate the impact of trauma, isolation and stress on individuals and families, especially those experiencing poverty
Invest in integrated heath care with seamless connections to supportive services
Help reduce disparities based on race, location, education and income factors
Support programs and networks that reduce deaths, treat addiction, and prevent first use