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Health Care

Health Care Heroes: Community Achievement

By Staff Reports, posted Oct 20, 2017
Here are the finalists in the 2017 Health Care Heroes Community Achievement category.

Honors an individual or team who successfully implemented a program addressing a problem in health care administration or delivery.


Jana Jones Halls

TITLE: Executive director

ORGANIZATION: Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “Recognizing that neighborhoods on the north side of downtown Wilmington had a significantly higher rate of poverty, disadvantage and crime, the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on the Prevention of Youth Violence was formed in 2008 as an initiative under the United Way of the Cape Fear Area.

Representatives from local city and county governments, court system, law enforcement, health care system, university, faith-based organizations, private businesses, nonprofits and general community members came together to serve as an advisory board. In 2013, the BRC became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission, ‘Building a community where youth are safe, healthy, educated and successful ... Now!’ The BRC committed to serving a 140-square block area, consisting of about 300 families – which they named the Youth Enrichment Zone (YEZ).

The BRC Team and its partners aim to support and foster community-led initiatives, minimize food insecurity, increase health care access, increase parent-child connectedness, reduce the juvenile crime rate, narrow the academic achievement gap, lower school drop-out rates and increase sustainable employment opportunities for YEZ youth and their families.”

 – Iris Baker, NHRMC outreach coordinator


Olivia Herndon

TITLE: Director of Mental Health and Public Health Education

ORGANIZATION: SEAHEC-NHRMC

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “For nearly five years, Olivia Herndon has been the Director of Mental Health and Public Health and the Co-Director of Continuing Education at the South East Area Health Education Center [SEAHEC], which is now also a part of NHRMC. During this time, she has done a remarkable job reaching out to the community to make a difference.

In partnership with UNCW and the South East Regional North Carolina Health Collaborative, she has provided remarkable leadership in promoting the health care transformation lecture series.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable areas of advocacy and community outreach has come by way of the opioid epidemic within our region. She led the effort to organize an educational event in November 2016 where over 300 people attended.

This event hosted leaders across our country bringing us new ideas on how we can collectively address this issue e.g. LEAD program, Quick Response Team and more. The following day, a series of four workgroups convened to make this a reality.
Over the ensuing months, tremendous progress has been made.”

Joseph Pino, SEAHEC-NHRMC executive director


Sunrise Kids Program

TITLE: Childrens bereavement counselors

ORGANIZATION: Lower Cape Fear Hospice

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “Lower Cape Fear Hospice’s mission not only includes providing the highest level of care and comfort to patients with life-limiting illness, it also includes support and counseling to families. The agency offers Sunrise Kids, a free program that provides individual and group counseling to young people impacted by the death of someone in their lives.

Children deal with grief very differently than adults do. Following the death of a loved one, children, unlike adults, are often unable to call on tested coping skills for guidance and direction. Sunrise Kids was developed to help and currently offers in-school sessions, individual counseling and Sunshine Camps.

Last year, nearly 150 students in 13 area schools benefited from in-school counseling services. In individual sessions in 2016, more than 300 young people were encouraged to use their creative ability to get in touch with their feelings of grief. Each summer, weeklong Sunrise Camps are held for ages 7 to 12.”

(Childrens Bereavement Coordinator Marty Hernandez shown above.)

– Joseph Peters, LCFH director of counseling and volunteer services
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