When it comes to health care, Greensboro residents have more than just skilled doctors and good hospitals - they have the Moses Cone-Wesley Long Community Health Foundation.
The organization, formed in 1999 when the Moses Cone Health System joined forces – and funds – with the Wesley Long Community Health Foundation, is the state's largest foundation focused strictly on local health issues. In other words, according to the foundation's vice president and senior program officer Antonia Reaves, the foundation brings groups of similar interests together, encourages them to collaborate, helps with program planning and provides funding for health initiatives in the greater Greensboro area.
"With so many people lacking access to health care due to economics, lack of good health insurance, perhaps no insurance, or even just lacking the knowledge base of where to go for help, it's really good to have a foundation in town that can fund local initiatives that would otherwise not be available," Reaves says.
Projects include programs for both mental and physical health, substance abuse, fitness, nutrition and obesity prevention for youth. But the organization is always on the lookout for inventive programs that can really make a difference.
Recently, for example, the foundation helped fund an adolescent pregnancy prevention program for boys.
"It's really an innovative way of dealing with pregnancy prevention," Reaves said. "Traditionally, you think about targeting the girls."
Another creative effort is the congregational nurse program, through which 28 Greensboro-area churches have appointed nurses who can provide churchgoers with screenings, prevention programs, health checks or even accompaniment to doctor's appointments.
There's also the HealthServe medical center program, which is "almost like a free clinic, but on a sliding scale," Reaves said. It even has a pharmacy on site.
In addition to providing funding and program planning assistance, the Moses Cone-Wesley Long Community Health Foundation is actively involved in meeting with state legislators and advocating issues of interest to the community, plus sponsors an annual community health forum.
"We really try to eliminate the barriers for services," Reaves said. "We're all over the place in terms of health issues, and it's so important for the community to have that here."