Southeastern Health and Compassion for U Congregational Wellness Network have received a mini-grant to seed a new volunteer medical transportation ministry. The service is intended to link outpatient, non-emergency procedures with those suffering a lack of access to health care because of transportation needs.
The Rev. William Gentry of Lumberton is serving in the role of connector under my supervision as pastoral care coordinator for SeHealth. I am one of seven trained FaithHealth N.C. fellows under a larger grant awarded to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. Seven hospitals across the state have been working in an 18-month collaborative,called FaithHealth N.C. to share ideas and best practices to close the gap of health and wellness disparities that become barriers to staying well. Each hospital has been seeded with funds to offer at least one Connector, fulfilling various roles to improve health according to the Community Health Needs Assessment conducted in their counties.
By joining the health and wellness assets of the medical providers, health care and wellness agencies, the medical education community, along with church and community assets that include a passion for practicing what we profess from our Holy Scripture, the gaps and disparities in care are reduced.
Compassion for U Congregational Wellness Network, affiliated with Southeastern Health and FaithHealth, N.C., is a movement that partners the strengths of congregations, health care providers, and community organizations, through shared commitments, to leverage faith assets to improve health in communities.
The means by which these goals are reached include participating in joint training events relevant to the partners and communities’ needs; enhancing communication between the partners; supporting clergy and congregational caregivers in providing care to members and neighbors; promoting wellness programs for partner congregations, neighborhoods and communities, such as health screenings, health fairs, and educational events; and encouraging members and others to join the Compassion for U Congregational Wellness Network.
“We are blessed to have Rev. Gentry,” said Alisia Oxendine, director of Guest Services for SeHealth. Gentry, a retired school administrator, is a Baptist pastor. He also serves as the current board president of the Robeson Family Counseling Center, a Lumberton CareNet location of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He is immediate past president of the Lumberton Kiwanis Club and serves his family and community in various volunteer roles.
Oxendine invites local volunteers to join with many who serve at Southeastern Health who share Gentry’s passion.
“Southeastern Health is committed to advancing the health care needs of the communities in which we serve,” said Oxendine. “As part of this mission, we are depending on increased collaboration and regional partnerships. It is my hope that more volunteers will elect to give of their time to assist in some capacity within our system, particularly with the growing need of transportation services for increased access to care.”
The Rev. Dean Carter is the coordinator for the pastoral care department at Southeastern Health. He may be reached at 910-671-5031 or at [email protected]