Yesenia Cuello, Executive Director of NC FIELD, is pleased to announce the formalization of its health services case management program NC FIELD Health Services Department and the acquisition of local talent, Amber Kennedy, MBA. Amber joins NC FIELD as its consultant for Health Programming. She brings a lifelong history of local rural living to the organization, as a friend and peer to the agricultural workforce. She is a graduate of East Carolina University and in addition to her Master’s of Business Administration degree, she holds a graduate certificate in Health Management. Amber will focus on the organizational framework and implementation tools for addressing social determinants of health utilizing a case management model.
Regional needs assessment results indicate a rural population that lacks access to basic needs. In Lenoir County, the aftermath of Hurricane Florence has negatively impacted the health, wealth, housing, and transportation options for residents. 40% of the county’s children were considered poverty-stricken before the hurricane’s devastation. Recovery is slow; affordable housing has diminished in an area where over half the residents pay more than 30% of their income for housing, and access to food is critically lacking. Families continue to live in substandard and overcrowded conditions as they seek to re-establish independence. The teen pregnancy rate among Hispanic females is rising, as well as the death toll for career agricultural workers over age 49.
Beneficial resources such as access to transportation for health visits, bilingual staff, and referrals are available via federally qualified health centers in the region. However, the most vulnerable remain the most difficult to reach and educate about the importance of regular health care, prevention, and wellness. Through NC FIELD’s Health Services Department, NC FIELD will design and implement health leadership and advocacy at the grassroots level, with the goal of impacting epidemic levels of Diabetes, Hypertension, STD-related diseases, among others.