Hertford County native Catherine Parker received the inaugural Public Health Early Career Alumni Achievement Award during East Carolina University’s College of Health and Human Performance’s National Public Health Week celebration.
Just six months after starting her professional career with Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center, Parker took on leadership of its school-based health program, working with the public school system in Hertford County.
“I’ve always been passionate about making wellness fun and that radiated—my supervisors saw that I’d be good match to work with youth. And I love it. It’s been super rewarding and exciting,” she said.
“I grew up in Hertford County. In high school, my health classes were focused more on sports than on health. It left me wanting a lot more. Youth deserve—they have a right—to know how to take care of themselves, particularly around reproductive health and safety. I have a strong passion for youth wellness and empowerment. Our work covers a broad range, from teaching prekindergarten students how to brush their teeth to teaching high school students how to build healthier relationships. We try to customize our efforts based on what school staff are seeing as issues with their students.”
Among the initiatives that Parker has supported as director of the center are the Farm to School to Healthcare project that established school gardens; student-led farmers markets that provide vouchers for access to free fruits and vegetables; and a literacy initiative within the clinic.
“I had amazing preparation at ECU,” said Parker, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 2010 and her master’s in 2012. “Faculty and staff in the health education and promotion department were incredible. The program fit exactly what I wanted to do and gave me room for creative freedom. I was fortunate to work with Student Health and Campus Wellness, where I was able to put what I learned in class into action right away. Those opportunities really prepared me. And being treated as a professional and equal member of the team, even though I was a student, meant so much to me. I think about that when I’m supervising students now,” she said.
Parker may have graduated but she hasn’t stopped learning. “One of my fears is that I’m going to get stagnant,” she said. “I love learning from other people and being inspired by what they’re doing. It motivates me.”
She was named a Bernstein Community Health Leadership Fellow in 2017 and selected for the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI) in 2018. She’s also involved with numerous professional and community organizations, including as a board member for the North Carolina School-Based Health Alliance and a member of the Town of Murfreesboro Parks and Rec Advisory Committee.
“Everything we do is based on relationships. Community work is all about knowing and caring for people and making connections with them. Being on the parks and rec committee isn’t part of my job description, but it’s valuable to the work I do. It’s important to understand how we all fit together.
“I’m so proud that in my work I can be true to myself and my values. And that I can give back to a community that’s given so much to me. I’m able to express myself, share ideas, test new things and get people excited about these initiatives. I’ve done things I never imagined I could and it’s been through partnerships with great people in our community.”
In their nomination materials, Parker’s colleagues wrote that “Catherine’s love and passion for rural health, youth health and community health is evident in all her work. She is extremely committed to the community that raised her. She has led this center and staff to new heights of success that exceed all expectations.”
The 2018 annual report for Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center is now available for download.
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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Monday, Jan. 21, 2019
On Monday, January 21st, RCCHC will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service. Although our offices will be closed in observance, we invite you to use the day as a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings of equality and racial justice into community service that helps solve social problems. That service may meet a tangible need, such as fixing up a school or senior center, or it may meet a need of the spirit, such as building a sense of community or mutual responsibility.
You can find a service opportunity near you by visiting the Corporation for National and Community Service’s “FIND A VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY” page: https://www.nationalservice.gov/serve/
Or, offer to help an elderly neighbor or family member, tutor a child, babysit for family or friends, send a care package to a deployed soldier or to their family at home, offer a ride to someone you know doesn't have a car, or even donate blood or sign yourself up as an organ donor.
We have also included information on local events to attend in celebration of the day.
Coretta Scott King said, “The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.”
“Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center is a part of the more than 50 year old Health Center Movement that was created in tandem with the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty. I often say the charge of Movements is to MOVE. RCCHC has certainly been on the move for the past 13 years working diligently at improving the well-being of the residents of Hertford, Bertie, Washington, Gates and Northampton Counties. To be sure, moving only for the sake of change isn’t meaningful, but as Dr. Martin Luther King said “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but, whatever you do - you have to keep moving forward.”
For me, moving forward means opening my eyes, ears and heart to individuals, communities, cultures, systems, nature, to what I can learn to expand my horizons to serve. I appreciate that the motto for the Federal Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday is service…and the intention to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and MOVE us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.” I encourage all of us to reflect and consider how we may serve others next Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Kim Schwartz, CEO
Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center announced today the addition of four new providers to serve the needs of its patients across eastern North Carolina.
Dr. Charles Folashade, Internal Medicine, joined Ahoskie Comprehensive Care staff after serving in the Charlotte area. Dr. Folashade has extensive experience managing complex patients with chronic disease and has a passion for community health along with bringing a lifetime of experience working with vulnerable populations.
Family Nurse Practitioner Nancy Vanhoozer, is seeing patients at both Ahoskie Comprehensive Care and Murfreesboro Primary Care. She resides in Ahoskie and brings a wealth of family medicine and nursing education with her.
Charlene Earley, FNP started last month and is based at Ahoskie Comprehensive Care. Earley is a 2004 Hertford Co. High Grad and worked at Murfressboro Primary Care.
Another familiar face is also returning to RCCHC. Morgan Winslow, PA-C worked previously at Ahoskie Comprehensive Care as a CNA before becoming a PA. She will now be seeing patients at Murfreesboro Primary Care.
“It is exciting having Morgan Winslow and Charlene Earley return to RCCHC as clinical staff and Nancy Vanhoozer bringing her seasoned experience to our patients. Dr. Folashade’s goodwill and depth complements RCCHC’s commitment to treating the whole person,” said Kim Schwartz, CEO RCCHC.
“All of these providers are accepting new patients along with the full complement of RCCHC’s nurse case management, behavioral health services, medication assistance program, diabetic education, pharmacy and referral services.”
In additional to the new providers, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center will also be adding additional services in 2019 and opening a new clinic in Woodland.
Woodland Primary Care will provide primary medical, behavioral and coordination of care with access for all patients offering a sliding fee discount program based on the Federal Poverty guidelines of household income and size. The clinic is scheduled to open spring 2019
New services include additional diabetes education and management programs and expansion of the Behavioral Health Services to serve students and those with Dementia.
RCCHC, a Federally Qualified Health Center since May 2005, provides comprehensive primary care and pediatric services with locations in Ahoskie and Murfreesboro (Hertford County), Colerain (Bertie County) and Creswell (Washington County) North Carolina. As a designated Migrant and Community Health Center, RCCHC’s mission is to provide comprehensive care that reduces health disparities for the Roanoke Chowan area. Additionally RCCHC staffs The Hertford County Student Wellness Center which operates during the school year and allows students to seek behavioral health services without having to leave campus, reducing absenteeism and in turn keeping students in the classroom giving them a greater chance to successfully complete curriculum requirements.
Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center is celebrating this Veterans Day by recognizing employees and board members who have served our country and informing Veterans of the healthcare options available locally.
“We are not only proud to have these men and women as part of our team, but also honored to be a Veterans Choice medical facility. Our clinics in Ahoskie, Murfressboro, Colerain, and Creswell all offer services through the Department of Veterans (VA) when they can’t make it to a VA facility,” said Kim Schwartz, RCCHC, CEO.
For example, if a Veteran needs an appointment for a specific type of care, and VA cannot provide the care in a timely manner, Veteran may be eligible for care through the Veterans Choice Program at Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center clinics.
“Veterans must receive prior authorization from VA to receive this care, but we’re happy to accommodate them,” Schwartz added.
Additional information is available by calling any Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center location. RCCHC also takes time this weekend to honor those who have served:
Alan Anthony Goddard, PA-C
Charles Sawyer III, MD
1st Class Petty Officer
Julian R. Taylor, MD
US Air Force
Kathy V. Montanez
Jon Stephen Branch
1 ½ Years
Dustin Lee Jones
US Army Active Duty & Reserves
Catherine S. Brown, ANP
Rev. Dr. Claude Odom (Board Member)
Rank of E5
Guy Simmons (Board Member)
Surface Warfare Officer/Captain