I had the pleasure of serving on the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s (NCIOM) Task Force on Rural Health, which was charged with creating a roadmap for better health in rural parts of our state. This plan includes strategies that do not require additional funding to support, but rather stronger partnerships across different sectors, such as health care, education and economic development.
People of faith who live in rural areas are encouraged to review the North Carolina Rural Health Action Plan, which is now available for free download from the NCIOM website, to see how you can make a difference. Clergy, in particular, can play a powerful role in improving the health of rural communities by holding local leaders (e.g., policymakers, small business owners, health care providers, etc.) accountable and by promoting health from the pulpit.
As a matter of fact, supporting healthy eating and active living is one of the six key strategies highlighted in the Rural Health Action Plan, and it’s one that our Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW) Certified Congregations are already engaged in. To join PHW’s efforts to improve the health of clergy and congregants in both rural and urban settings, please click here.
With limited state dollars going toward preventive health in North Carolina and the Governor’s decision not to expand Medicaid coverage for our most vulnerable, it’s critical that we take proactive measures to improve our own health and the health of our neighbors.