R I C H E S May Spotlight


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R I C H E S May Spotlight

  1. 1. RICHES Healthy Women, Healthy Communities When it comes to women’s health, North Carolina could do a much better job. Women in our state have among the worst rates of deaths due to stroke and diabetes. When a woman’s health falters, so may the health of her family. In an effort to help women lead healthier, happier and longer lives, this spring the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation kicked off its first round of annual RICHES, Resources in Communities Help Encourage Solutions, regional meetings. RICHES is a community-based women’s health initiative designed to address the health and health-related needs of women of reproductive age. In 2009 the N.C. GlaxoSmithKline Foundation awarded the NCHSF a three-year grant to continue RICHES which originally started as a pilot project in 2007. This spring nearly 100 organizations across the state participated in regional meetings at sites located in Lee, Sampson, Guilford, Edgecombe, Buncombe and Mecklenburg counties. The meetings focused on improving the health of women, particularly minorities and those living in low wealth communities, by sharing resources and strategies related to women’s health and well-being. Representatives from numerous organizations discussed challenges they face in providing services to their clientele. Many of the organizations cited funding and transportation issues as primary barriers to helping the women they serve. At the meetings attendees were trained on how to use the new Health Journal Tool Kit. The tool kit provides instructions and activities on a variety of health topics in a portable, easy-to-use, flip chart binder. It was designed for community groups to use with the women they serve; one-on-one in a clinic or home-visiting setting, or in small groups. The tool kit builds on My Health Journal and includes topics such as recommended checkups, reproductive health, emotional health, family health history and setting health goals. It also provides space for women to chart new health behaviors and keep track of their health history and test results. Participants formed groups in a role-play activity using the Health Journal Tool Kit. Each group was responsible for selecting a topic from the tool kit and presenting it. All six trainings were made possible by the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation and a one time grant from the North Carolina Office of Women’s Health. RICHES is one of many initiatives developed by NCHSF to reduce infant death and illness and improve the health of women and young children across the state.
  2. 2. Akiyah McGhie, poses as a University Health and Wellness Counselor speaking to students about birth control methods from the My Reproductive Health section in the Health Journal Tool kit.