Letter from the WCMS Foundation Board Chair, Kate Queen MD (Oct 2015)
October 26, 2015
"Celebrate our Rural Health Care Providers"
by Dr. Kate T. Queen, MD
2015 Chair, Western Carolina Medical Society Foundation
"November 19th is National Rural Health Day. Help WCMS celebrate our rural health care providers—thank a rural doctor today!
According to the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural communities. Our WNC rural communities have unique healthcare needs. “Today more than ever, rural communities must address accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens. And rural hospitals – which are often the economic foundation of their communities in addition to being the primary providers of care – struggle daily as declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels make it challenging to serve their residents.” This is true all over the country, including right here in WNC.
National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to “Celebrate the Power of Rural” by honoring the selfless, community-minded, “can do” spirit of that prevails in rural America.” One such example of this spirit is a new program being developed in Mitchell and Yancey counties by two enterprising UNC medical students in collaboration with WCMS, MAHEC and the Center for Rural Health Innovation located in Mitchell County. The program is called Project Promise and aims to “grow our own” rural health care providers by introducing the world of health care and health careers to interested high school students.
In honor of National Rural Health Day, WCMS Foundation has selected to celebrate and raise funds for “Project Promise.” Read about Project Promise and how to help launch this innovative program!"
Kate Queen, MD
"Dear WCMS Friends,
My name is Brittany Papworth and I am a 4th year UNC medical student. I have had the privilege of completing my clinical training in Western North Carolina. Last year, my colleague Rivers Woodward and I initiated an original health careers interest program, Project PROMISE, at two high schools in Yancey and Mitchell Counties with the support of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. Although the Fellowship is for 1 year, Rivers and I have been working very hard to ensure that the program can continue.
We need your help raising $20,000 to continue Project PROMISE in 2016!
Below is a photo of some of last year’s participants at our end of the year celebration.
With the support of Jacquelyn Hallum, Miriam Schwarz, Dr. Steve North and his team at the Center for Rural Health Innovation, Rivers and I have been able to lay the groundwork for Project PROMISE to continue this school year. We have recruited community health care workers to serve as preceptors for 3 young women that applied and were subsequently selected to the program. They will complete a semester-long internship in the spring. They are ambitious, smart, and driven. We have no doubt they will succeed this year and serve as pioneers for future program participants. Below is a photo of last year’s participants learning how to run a code.
Currently, a critical missing piece for project sustainability is an on-site project coordinator. This individual would be housed at the Center for Rural Health Innovation in Spruce Pine. We envision that hiring this person would require $20,000. We are actively pursuing funding opportunities with the help of WCMS, but we would also like to solicit your help for how we might be able to raise these funds. One challenge is that we ideally need to hire this individual by October or November, which does not leave adequate turnaround time required by many grants.
Rivers and I are maximally dedicated to seeing that Project PROMISE can succeed this year and years to come. We have been inspired by the relationships we built with last year’s students and are committed to providing every opportunity for subsequent students to achieve their goals related to health careers. We are open to all suggestions for funding opportunities. Please email or call either of us if you would like to discuss options further. Thank you so much for your time. We look forward to hearing your ideas and/or receiving your donation.
Any personal or corporate donations can be sent to:
Center for Rural Health Innovation- Project PROMISE
120 Oak Avenue,
Spruce Pine, NC 28777
Rivers Woodward: 828-342-2864. Rivers_woodward@med.unc.edu"