CCME Foundation Impact Stories

Shelter Health Services Diabetes Program Improving and Saving Lives in NC

On the northwest side of Charlotte lies an unpretentious building one might think is nothing of significant importance. But look more closely and you will find a vital harbor and care center for homeless, disadvantaged women and children of Charlotte, who sometimes through no fault of their own, find themselves in need of basic necessities to include a roof over their head, personalized health care and access to that care.

Inside this shelter is imbedded Shelter Health Services, a free health clinic with a team dedicated to enriching the lives of people in need through health care assessment, treatment, monitoring, and educational lifestyle changes. This past year, the CCME Foundation partnered with Shelter Health Services to implement a Diabetes/Pre-Diabetes Program through the foundation’s grant funding. In this program, enrollees entrust the SHS medical team and staff with personal medical assessment, treatment, monitoring, and guidance on lifestyle changes to make their lives healthier and self-sustaining.

Case in point, new SHS resident “Diane” was assessed at the clinic and found to have an A1C level putting her at risk for developing diabetes. She was placed into the SHS Prediabetic program. With no funds to buy the healthy food she needed, SHS provided Diane with pre-approved meals conducive to maintaining healthy eating. For the next four weeks, Diane diligently came to the SHS clinic to get her levels checked and receive diabetic food when the Shelter’s resident meals were not in line with her dietary plan. Her medical team and SHS staff educated and encouraged her on the daily needs for exercise and proper nutritional habits. One month later, Diane’s A1C level has dropped, and she states she is feeling much better. She is attending the SHS Dietician Education seminar and is learning to effectively managing her health and choices in food and lifestyle.

“This program allows us to be a resource in abating the onset of chronic diseases for those who lack access to affordable and compassionate health care,” said Iris Hubbard, executive director of Shelter Health Services. She thanks the CCME Foundation for funding the SHS Diabetes/Pre-Diabetes program. “Without these funds, we would not be in a position to fund food and medical supplies, educational speakers, and incentives to motivate residents toward better health.”

CCME President and CEO Steven Martin says case stories like Diane’s and the SHS team demonstrate the meaningful purpose of the CCME Foundation’s goal to improve the lives of people and communities. “We applaud the Shelter Health Service’s team in making an impact toward healthier lives in the Charlotte community,” he said. “They demonstrate a true passion for saving lives.”

For more information about Shelter Health Services, visit https://www.shsclinic.org/.


Connect to Purpose - 2021 Grantee: The Open Door Clinic of Alamance County

The Open Door Clinic’s mission is “to offer free healthcare services with dignity, professionalism and concern for the indigent and uninsured residents of Alamance County.” The Clinic’s grant application proposed a project allowing the Clinic to hire a telehealth program coordinator who would implement a hybrid telehealth program for its patients. The funds would also purchase the equipment, giving the clinic staff and patients access to interpreter services and provider services by video, removing the language barrier and transportation problems that often disrupt patients’ ability to access needed specialty healthcare.

There have been various challenges posed by the COVID 19 Pandemic, impacting the ability of the program to get off the ground as planned. Open Door’s move into their new clinic space was delayed, and they had difficulty hiring the program coordinator due to Cone Health vaccine mandates. Despite the setbacks, Executive Director Lorrie Carter reported that a new CMA would begin with the telehealth program in April and that the equipment was ordered and would arrive soon. They are three months behind their original timeline, but the populations served by this clinic will no doubt find tremendous value in this innovative service. According to Ms. Carter, the Open Door Clinic is the only free clinic in North Carolina to have this technology.

While it may seem that the CCME Foundation’s grant has not yet had much of its intended impact, sometimes, the story is more than just about the project’s timelines, progress, and outcomes. Tracy Salisbury was the long-time dedicated and much beloved Executive Director of the Open Door Clinic for eleven years. After an out-of-nowhere breast cancer diagnosis in 2019, she was tragically taken from her two sons, family, friends, and the Alamance community in which she lived throughout her life in December 2020. Her unexpected death at age 50 devasted the Open Door Clinic staff, and her profound legacy and compassionate and caring presence is very much a part of the new clinic’s office space, clinical rooms, and beautiful pastel hallways. A whiteboard with a note of encouragement “Thanks to everyone for everything you do!” written to her staff remains etched in marker, her handwriting now a piece of artwork gracing the wall in for the organization that she had invested so much of her time, heart, energy, and talents. Lorrie Carter worked with Ms. Salisbury for twelve years, and her own strength and resilience to continue this necessary and meaningful operation is evident as she rose to the occasion to take the helm of the Clinic.

The first CCME Foundation grant application period opened in April 2021, and Ms. Carter was in the throes of being introduced to the seemingly endless and often unknown responsibilities that Ms. Salisbury had within her role as Executive Director. She was newly appointed by the Board and found herself treading water as she was learning the ropes while grieving her profound loss. The CCME Foundation grant was the first grant she had ever written, and after being awarded the funds for the telehealth program, she gained tremendous confidence in her own abilities to carry on what her good friend and long-time colleague started and expanded at the Clinic. While the CCME Foundation grants are awarded to “improve the health of individuals and communities,” sometimes, that award result includes helping the helpers themselves.


Connect to Purpose - 2021 Grantee: The Dementia Alliance of North Carolina

The Dementia Alliance of North Carolina established its Dementia Navigation Program as an effort to provide a team of allies and resources in support of families as they attempt to navigate the complicated and exhausting path of a dementia diagnosis within their loved ones. The team assists by helping to meet the needs and reduce the stress of caregivers as the disease progresses through resources, education, and a listening ear. While setting out to expand its services throughout the state, they began with listening tours in each county in how the organization can best serve the patients and caregivers dealing with dementia. Through relationship building in the smaller communities, the Navigator Program strives to be a trustworthy companion during some of the most devastating and challenging times for North Carolinians confronted with the arrival of a dementia diagnosis.

This grant application had several aggressive, measurable goals: delivering supportive services to six hundred people with dementia and their caregivers, increasing education and outreach efforts through events, post card mailings, and the prescription pads with information upon a dementia diagnosis; and improving the wellbeing of caregivers through knowledge and skills development. These are worthy endeavors and, so far, according to Executive Director Heather Hooper, have proven to be effective and innovative tools to reach the more rural and sparsely populated locations within the state where the internet, computer literacy, and dementia providers and resources are not guarantees, if there are any at all.

The CCME Foundation grant is the largest the organization has received, and the Board Chairman and staff appreciated the flexibility to use the funds in accordance with how the Dementia Alliance believed them to best serve its mission. They were able to hire a staff member, Rosalind Pugh-Scott, to administer the program across the state and hope to replicate the program into more counties.

Listening is perhaps one of the greatest skills that ultimately connect those who work in healthcare to their purpose. “Sometimes, the callers just need someone to listen with an empathetic ear and help them talk through it,” Ms. Pugh-Scott shared with us during our visit to the Dementia Alliance office.

“She listened to my story. She understood.”

“She calmed me and explained to me pointers to help me cope to be understanding what my Mom is going through.”

“I don’t get upset, because I apply what she told me.”

These are just a few responses from recipients of services provided by the Dementia Navigation Program, and they highlight the tremendous value of simply listening to the caregivers and family members who call for help during one of the worst and most desperate moments in their lives.

To learn more about the CCME Foundation, visit https://www.thecarolinascenter.org/foundation/.