Spotlight & Stories
National AHEC Organization: 2018 Andy Nichols Award for Social Justice
The Andy Nichols Award for Social Justice is provided in honor of Andrew W. Nichols, MD, MPH. He was a visionary who lived a life of service in pursuit of justice and health for all, and, most specifically, for the disadvantaged. Dr. Nichols established and directed Arizona’s statewide system of Area Health Education Centers, the State Office of Rural Health and the Arizona Health Education Training Center (HETC) program. Dr. Nichols was also a driving force in the National AHEC Program, was a tireless advocate for our programs before Congress. The Andy Nichols Award for Social Justice is awarded to an individual, a specific project, or an organization in the AHEC network that exemplifies his vision and persistent service in pursuit of social justice. The award was presented to Shawn Houck, RN, MSN, and Jeffrey Walden, MD, of Greensboro AHEC in July at the 2018 NAO Biennial Conference in Washington, DC
Brief overview: Guilford Refugee Health Coalition Development Project
This project was the creation of the Guilford Refugee Health Coalition developed by two members of Greensboro AHEC, Shawn Houck, MSN, RN, and Jeffrey Walden, MD, which comprises eight community agency partners, including the Cone Health Congregational Nursing Program, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro Center for New North Carolinians, Church World Service and African Service Coalition (two local refugee resettlement agencies), Cone Health Center for Children, the Cone Health Office of Inclusion, and the Cone Health Family Medicine Refugee Clinic. North Carolina has historically been, and remains, one of the top ten states in the country for resettled refugees, and Guilford County receives the second highest number of refugees in the state at around 1000 persons in 2016. This target population is often individuals with compromised health status, and who require advanced support measures to effectively navigate cultural and linguistic barriers in a vastly different healthcare system. While refugees are generally eligible for more benefits than other groups of immigrants, they face more acute barriers to healthcare, including language, literacy, and cultural differences. The pilot project is in Swahili, and the toolkit will be translated in future languages most commonly cared for in the community. As the first project of this coalition, a refugee health literacy toolkit/navigation directory has been created to help newly-arrived refugees in Greensboro navigate a new healthcare system. Establishing a health presence can lead refugees to become productive U.S. citizens with earlier work development status for sustainable community settlement. This toolkit serves as an integration piece across agencies for communication and patient support needs, while also facilitating useful community healthcare information to the refugee community target population.
2018 REACH Program
Greensboro AHEC’s Rural Educational Approach to Community Health (REACH) program is a 2-week summer residential program for 1st and 2nd year Medical students, Nurse Practitioner students and Physician Assistant students. The program is held in Asheboro, North Carolina and exposes students to rural community medicine through several learning experiences. The REACH program allows students to shadow and network with rural health providers, experience the richness of community and gain knowledge through interdisciplinary training. Another great aspect of the program is the “cultural” component that exposes students to an array of art, museums and local eateries. This experience allows students to develop an appreciation for history and culture that can be found in a rural setting.
This year’s participant Adrienne White, RN is a Nurse Practitioner student from UNC Wilmington. Adrienne currently works as a part-time nurse and has a passion for serving people in need. Her focus as a Nurse Practitioner will be on health literacy, preventative care and disease management. Tonya Baldwin, the REACH program coordinator, was happy to present Adrienne with a certificate of completion on June 29th. Students are required to submit a reflection essay and present a poster presentation at the end of their experience in the program.
“Small town. Country Living. Rural communities can be found all across North Carolina. It is important that healthcare providers are aware of, understand and are capable of meeting the needs of this patient population. The REACH program opens the doors to fulfilling this need." - Adrienne