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.
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.