Center for Healthy Communities News and Updates

Center for Healthy Communities News and Updates

Opioid Initiative

Wilmington is a vibrant coastal community known for its beautiful beaches, boardwalks and historic Riverwalk district. This April, the city of Wilmington also became known for something else: the top city in the nation for opioid abuse.

When Castlight Health published the study naming Wilmington as the top city in the nation for opioid abuse, SEAHEC and the Southeastern North Carolina Regional Health Collaborative began a regional collaborative opioid harm reduction initiative. After engaging State Health Director Dr. Randall Williams in conversation about the opioid epidemic, we held a regional call to action, using his visit to our region as a platform to bring together stakeholders for a day of conversation and collaboration.

The day served as an opportunity for approximately 100 regional stakeholders to break down the traditional sectored silos, to better understand what actions are currently addressing this epidemic in our region, as well as define what gaps exist. Stakeholders present included clinicians, pharmacists, law enforcement, public health, grassroots advocacy groups, higher education and school system leaders, regional healthcare leaders, mental health and substance abuse professionals, the Department of Social Services, first responders, faith-based community leaders and local delegations.

Areas of priorities identified were:

1) Awareness and education

2) Access to care

3) Availability of providers and facilities

4) Moving from a punitive system to a more supportive system

5) Crisis response

SEAHEC is offering a day of education on these specific areas of priority on Thursday, Nov. 3. Individuals and programs from across the country will make presentations on what efforts around opioid harm reduction worked in their communities and organizations. This event will be free and credit hours will be provided.

Community Platform Launch

The Community Engagement Conference held at UNCW on Oct. 14, 2016 coincided with the public launch of the EngageSENC website platform, a collaborative effort of UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services, QENO (Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations), the United Way of Cape Fear, the South East Area Health Education Center and the Civic Leadership Project.

EngageSENC will connect nonprofits, community members, local government, philanthropic interests, colleges and universities, decision makers and businesses in southeastern North Carolina. Users will be able to find resources and faculty expertise on a wide range of issues, such as health care, human services, housing and education; identify opportunities for internships, volunteerism and community-based research; and interact with the university and with one another. Nonprofits and other agencies also will have the opportunity to share information about their services. To read the full UNCW article, click here.

Disaster Relief

The College of Health and Human Services put its motto of Together We Can Make a Difference into action by responding to the recent Hurricane Matthew flood disaster.

CHHS coordinated efforts through its Center for Healthy Communities to gather much-needed donations and communicate volunteer opportunities via a disaster relief website created specifically for the cause.

The counties in our region most affected by the flooding were Bladen, Columbus, Pender and Robeson. Collected donations included water, cleaning supplies, toiletries, food, towels and baby items. Opportunities were available for CHHS students affected to drop by the center, located in the Academic Affairs Annex beside McNeill Hall, to pick up donations.

The effort was so successful, CHHS decided to extend the collection of items through Oct. 26. The Center for Healthy Communities has also partnered with the Office of Community Engagement and the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement to extend donation and volunteer opportunities campus wide.