Programs receive $100,000 each from BCBS Foundation
By Doug Boyd
GREENVILLE (11/19/10)—Two grants will help a pair of local programs further their goals of healthy weight and access to care for eastern North Carolinians.
MATCH, a program involving the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, and Access East, which serves people without health insurance in 27 counties, each received $100,000 from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. The grants were announced Tuesday, Nov. 16, at an event in Chapel Hill.
MATCH, which stands for Motivating Adolescents with Technology to Choose Health, is an approach to student wellness that combines physical activity, nutrition education and technology. The first two years of the MATCH program improved the weight status of more than two-thirds of all participating overweight students. It was started in 2006 by Tim Hardison, then a science teacher at Williamston Middle School and now director of the MATCH program at ECU.
He and Dr. Suzanne Lazorick, program evaluator of the MATCH program and assistant professor of pediatrics and public health at ECU, have expanded it beyond Williamston to seventh graders at schools in Ayden, Robersonville, Jacksonville, Hertford County, Washington County and Pamlico County. They are assessing body mass index measurements, eating choices and other factors.
Access East will use the grant money to increase access to primary and specialty care, case management, medication assistance and preventive health services for 400 low-income, uninsured Pitt County adults at the Bernstein Community Health Center.
Access East, together with Greene County Health Care, operates the Bernstein Center, a full-service, federally qualified health center that is a medical home for 3,500 low-income North Carolinians. Access East serves 130,000 people through its community care plan, the largest such network in the state.
Dr. Tom Irons, ECU associate vice chancellor for regional health services, chairs the Access East board, and Jim Baluss, administrator for regional health plans at University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, serves as executive director.
Through the grant, Access East will reduce the need for emergency care by providing new access to primary and specialty care, case management, medication assistance and preventive health services for 400 low-income, uninsured Pitt County adults.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the BCBSNC Foundation is investing a total of $1 million in 10 nonprofit organizations across North Carolina. Each organization is a former BCBSNC Foundation grantee and received $100,000 to continue efforts that positively impact the health of their local residents.
“After 10 successful years, we reflect on the partnerships and relationships that are making strides in access to care, healthy eating, physical activity and enabling nonprofits to do their good work throughout North Carolina,” said Kathy Higgins, president of the foundation.