Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Foundation Receives Duke Endowment Grant to Support Healthy Rowan

March 8, 2021

Healthy Rowan is a coalition of 57 individual members and 25 agencies including county and city government, public schools, faith-based institutions, local businesses and nonprofit organizations that seek to improve health and quality of life in Rowan County through broad-based interventions aimed at obesity and chronic disease. The Duke Endowment launched its Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas Initiative in North Carolina and South Carolina in 2015 to address chronic health issues.

Healthy Rowan Executive Director Alyssa Harris notes that the organization’s goal is to improve Rowan County’s overall county health ranking through collaboration, education, and advocacy. Rowan County consistently ranks among the lower half of North Carolina counties in terms of health outcomes as determined by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ), the largest public health philanthropy that supports health research and programs. The RWJ County Health Rankings and Roadmaps are based on health factors such as quality of life, behaviors like smoking and physical inactivity, clinical care measures, socio-economic factors and environmental factors.

“The state of health in Rowan County is a clear call to action,” Harris said. “Thanks to focused community engagement and partnership with The Duke Endowment, we can and will continue to improve health for Rowan County residents.”

Healthy Rowan counters unhealthy behaviors such as tobacco use, poor diet and physical inactivity with a variety of evidence-based programs such as Daily Mile with Rowan-Salisbury Schools; Exercise is Medicine with the Community Care Clinic of Rowan County, the local health department, community health centers and Novant Health family clinics; and Adventure Rowan, a family-based approach to health and wellness. To promote healthy diet, the coalition supports the Rowan Food and Farm Network food policy action group, system changes within food pantries to promote availability of healthier items, and healthier food policies with Salisbury city and Rowan County governments.

Healthy Rowan connects with individuals through a variety of public and private institutions, and serves all Rowan County residents directly and indirectly through its programs. In addition, Healthy Rowan advances discussion of social determinants of health, also known as vital conditions, such as housing, transportation needs and economic development. Healthy Rowan also provides opportunities for ongoing discussions to highlight the interconnectedness of all health factors including substance use and mental health.  

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