A conversation with Kimmie Durham


As we responded to COVID-19 and set a course for the future, 2020 was a year in which Novant Health overcame adversity and reimagined both healthcare and philanthropy.

In a conversation with Kimmie Durham, board chair of Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center Foundation, she reflected on 2020, the new normal and what it means for our foundation’s future.

As board chair, what accomplishments are you celebrating this year?

Our greatest accomplishment is we were able to meet so many needs of not only our community but also of our team members who needed assistance as COVID-19 quickly changed the world as we knew it. So many industries took a hit, but all of this rested on the shoulders of healthcare providers. Many people lost jobs, had spouses who lost jobs or businesses temporarily shut down. We had to keep our staff as safe as possible to provide remarkable care, and our Hope for Remarkable Team Aubergine Fund helped many team members stay on track. We had an excellent year as a foundation because we’re deeply engaged in this community, and we kept fighting the good fight.

What have you learned from the pandemic over the past year?

It showed me what I’ve always believed about humankind: If we work together, we can do incredible things. We had a large number of volunteers throughout our system who signed up for COVID-19 clinical trials. These volunteers were from all walks of life. We came together as humans, and we did what needed to be done.

Many individuals are looking for ways to get involved and give back. What opportunities at the foundation would you recommend this coming year?

The pandemic has brought much attention to behavioral health. We’re hearing about behavioral health issues from our school counselors and our news media. I think everybody has struggled with something this past year. Students had to shift to remote learning, and parents had to step up in new ways. All of this has an impact on individuals and families. There is a need across our country and certainly a big need right here in Brunswick County. Our last event before the pandemic was the campaign launch party for A Path Forward, our behavioral health capital campaign. The money raised from this event will help us become the lifesaving partner the Brunswick County community deserves.

Improving health equity in our communities will be a core initiative for the foundation this year. What does health equity mean to you, and where do you see opportunities for growth? To me, health equity means we’re out there in the community, no matter what the community is and what it looks like. We’re not leaving anyone behind. We have to show compassion and help educate. We want to make sure all of our communities are being covered.