With great respect and reverence, Kim is dedicating her Dancing with the Stars performance and gift proceeds to the Health Equity Fund at Novant Health honoring the late Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown. Garmon-Brown, MD, M.Div., was a woman of many gifts and talents, but most of all, she served as a steadfast caregiver, champion, and advocate for the health and well-being of underserved Charlotte community members.
In the Charlotte region, chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, are leading causes of disability and premature death. Compounding the situation, more than 120,000 Mecklenburg County residents are uninsured, including 16,362 children, and 230,000 adults who do not have a primary care provider. We know communities facing significant barriers to good individual health—such as lack of health insurance coverage, inadequate transportation, limited language proficiency, and health knowledge gaps—struggle to thrive.
We believe access to quality care is a right and should not be dependent on zip code, so we recently launched the Health Equity Fund at Novant Health to support strategic initiatives spanning the breadth of healthcare access, housing, education, addiction, mental health, economic development and so much more, including:
- Supporting Community Access and Health Clinics – Providing pediatric/adult biometric screening and education, telehealth options, COVID-19 needs and prevention services that help people live long and healthy lives.
- Deploying Healthcare on Wheels – Funding mobile health units to provide critical health services and wellness programs (e.g., childhood immunization services) to uninsured and underinsured families in our community.
- Embedding Community Health Workers (navigators) – Advocating for neighbors in our most vulnerable communities and connecting them to health and social services such as outreach, community education and informal counseling.
- Providing Behavioral Health/Therapy – Integrating these critical services in community clinics.
- Expanding Workforce Development – Building workforce pipelines that afford gainful employment to residents across Charlotte and supporting internships focusing on underrepresented communities.
Through the Health Equity Fund at Novant Health, we have an opportunity to create a brighter future for families and children who reside in Mecklenburg County and continue the legacy, vision, and vocation of Dr. Garmon-Brown.