Pro basketball star and Wilmington native Michael Jordan has made a $10 million gift to the Novant Health Foundation to open two medical clinics in New Hanover County, according to a news release Monday.
The two new clinics are slated to open in early 2022, Novant Health officials said in the release.
“I am very proud to once again partner with Novant Health to expand the Family Clinic model to bring better access to critical medical services in my hometown,” Jordan said in the release. “Everyone should have access to quality health care, no matter where they live, or whether or not they have insurance. Wilmington holds a special place in my heart and it’s truly gratifying to be able to give back to the community that supported me throughout my life.”
Jordan's donations now total $17 million in funds to help develop clinics, which are owned and operated by Winston-Salem-based Novant Health, stated the release.
The announcement Monday comes just weeks after Novant Health closed on its nearly $2 billion purchase of New Hanover Regional Medical Center
, which includes a partnership with UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine, stated the release.
Novant Health and Jordan previously partnered to open two Michael Jordan Family Clinics in Charlotte, "bringing comprehensive primary care, including behavioral health and social support services, to the area’s most vulnerable communities," officials said.
Officials added that Jordan’s gift will help improve affordable access to care in Wilmington. Novant Health aims to bring its integrated care model to more rural and rural-adjacent communities in Wilmington to offer services to those who are uninsured or underinsured, stated the release.
Officials, however, haven't yet announced where the clinics will be located in New Hanover County.
"Our first step will be to work with community partners and organizations to hear their needs and from there determine the best location to serve those communities," Kristen Barnhardt, senior corporate public relations specialist for Novant Health, said in an email Monday when asked about the location of the new clinics in the county.
Novant is looking forward to making the clinics "a home base to holistically help the entire patient and all of the needs they have, not just the diagnosis that might be at hand," said Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health, in an interview with reporters Monday
Former NHRMC president and CEO John Gizdic, who was recently named
executive vice president and chief business development officer for Novant post-sale, said the donation and partnership will help continue what NHRMC had set in motion to address the health needs of those underserved in the local community.
"We talk about health equity, and one of the biggest factors there are the social determinants of health, and poverty is possibly the largest social determinants of health," Gizdic said Monday. "We've made great strides here in Southeastern North Carolina with our community outreach efforts and our efforts around health equity to connect our community with food and education and services. But ... there is so much more that can be done."
Armato added that the COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted health equity gaps across the state.
“When we set out to partner with New Hanover Regional Medical Center, we made it absolutely clear that one of our top priories was to improve health outcomes in Southeastern North Carolina with access to affordable care for all,” Armato added. “With Michael’s gift, we’ll be able to more quickly and directly have an impact. The establishment of these two new clinics reinforces our true commitment to improving the health of the southeast region.
“We look forward to standing these clinics up as quickly as possible," he added, "to ensure all members of the community have access to necessary medical care."