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Human Services Collaborates to Build a Healthier Union County

Human Services Collaborates to Build a Healthier Union County

Posted on December 10, 2020

Healthy Union: a patient speaking with her counselorLeaders from Human Services recently collaborated with community partners from around the County to launch the Healthy Union Advisory Coalition. The Coalition will use the cooperative strength of many community partners to identify and address health and quality of life issues in Union County. This collaborative alliance includes representatives and leaders from healthcare, government, business and industry, human services, community service agencies, medical service providers, educational institutions, the general population, and the faith community. Coalition members reflect the racial diversity of the community and will address priority needs identified in the Community Health Assessment (CHA). The committee's first priority areas will be mental health, substance use disorder and access to care.

Stephanie Starr, Human Services Division Director for Community Support and Outreach, states, “I am truly excited about the Healthy Union Advisory Coalition and the future work that will be accomplished. Not only will the Coalition ensure that the community continues to work on the priority areas identified in the Community Health Assessment (CHA) and the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) on an ongoing basis and identify and support additional priority areas as they arise, but it will also ensure that as a community, we coordinate current health and quality of life efforts that are already underway. Our hope is to enhance collaboration, avoid duplication of efforts, and to utilize limited resources more efficiently and effectively."

Another member of the Coalition, Keith Adams, Executive Director of Common Heart, reflected on the work by saying, "A few years ago I was at a meeting discussing the state of public health. Union County was touted as among the healthiest in North Carolina. We received the highest marks for many indicators. Then Mike Lutes of Atrium Health stated something that I intuitively knew from working with food insecure families. If two of our zip codes were counties, they would rank 97th and 98th out of 100 counties in North Carolina. Food insecurity, stress of poverty and racism greatly impact health. And until this inequity is addressed in these zip codes (and throughout the county), we cannot have a healthy Union County. My hope is to bring their concerns and encourage their voices and participation in this necessary work."

Christine Skrutowski, RN, BSN, NCSN, School Nurse Supervisor with Union County Public School stated, "I am very excited to be part of the coalition because mental health access is even more important than ever due to the current times we are in. Increasing access to services for all ages is very much needed and a goal the coalition will reach for."

If you are interested in finding out more about the Coalition, please email Stephanie Starr.

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