Nick Allen reflects on the Hutchins Conversation

 By Nicholas Allen

The conversation format of the Hutchins Conversation last night definitely added engaging flair to the idea of the academic talk. Lisa McKeithan, MS, CRC, Director, and HIV/AIDS Researcher at CommWell Health Clinics in Dunn, North Carolina sat down to talk with Dr. Martha King, Teaching Assistant Professor of Medical Anthropology at UNC-CH, about CommWell’s work in rural healthcare.


See the entire conversation here.

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5 Surprising Benefits of Walking


The next time you have a check-up, don't be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription to walk.1 Yes, this simple activity that you've been doing since you were about a year old is now being touted as "the closest thing we have to a wonder drug," in the words of Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of course, you probably know that any physical activity, including walking, is a boon to your overall health. But walking in particular, comes with a host of benefits. Here's a list of five that may surprise you.

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Social Determinants of Health: Transforming the Buzz Phrase to a Rural Action Item

Solving Unmet Social Needs: NC-REACH’s Best Practice Model

by Kay Miller Temple, MD

In Dunn, North Carolina, CommWell Health is an organization familiar with the activities described as part of the CMS’s grant model: assessing unmet social needs, providing navigation assistance, and creating an inventory of community service organizations. These steps were required for their participation in a Health Resources & Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau’s national initiative, a federal demonstration project part of the Bureau’s Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS).

CommWell, the only rural member of the 9 demonstration sites, now serves as a Best Practice Model. They’ve received numerous awards and recognition for their program NC-Rurally Engaging and Assisting Clients who are HIV positive and Homeless, NC-REACH.

Lisa McKeithan, NC-REACH and Positive Life program director, said their team completed social determinant risk assessment steps similar to those being used in the AHC model, for example screening for housing needs. CommWell’s leadership — almost from the ground up — built relationships with community service organizations in order to meet housing challenges like those associated with “hidden homelessness,” an unstable housing issue where a client might go from a family member’s couch, to a friend’s couch, to a stranger’s couch without having stable housing. That collaborative activity with other organizations became a community solution, the Community Housing Coalition, now part of CommWell’s Best Practice Model.

Mini Wellness Challenges for a Healthy and Happy Spring

Published by Robyn Whalen on Thu, Apr 05, 2018 - Total Wellness


Spring is finally in the air! Warmer weather and blooming flowers are awesome motivators for getting more active and boosting your health. Plus, summer is just around the corner! Many of us lose a bit of motivation to lead healthy lifestyles during the winter months – mainly due to the holidays, cold weather, and less daylight. Picking things back up during the springtime will help you get back on track before the summer months take over!

spring blog post pic

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National Public Health Week: Listening and Working Together for Healthier and Longer Lives

Ed. note: This blog was originally published on

Every American deserves to live a long, healthy life, but we are falling short of that goal.  Life expectancy in the U.S. has declined for the second year in a row.  This decline marks the first time in half a century that American longevity has declined. This is a disturbing problem that faces us as we observe National Public Health Week, April 2-April 8. 

Each year, the National Public Health Week, organized by the American Public Health Association, is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation's health. This week is an opportunity to raise awareness about public health and prevention.

My motto of “Better Health through Better Partnerships” is particularly well aligned with the theme for this year’s National Public Health Week—“Changing Our Future Together.” When we are addressing issues that are important to improving our nation’s health, we cannot operate in silos. Whether we are looking to improve our nation’s health outcomes, improve our national security, or enhance a community’s resilience, we need partnerships and collaboration. We can only change our future together.

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April is National Stress Awareness Month

Learn 5 ways to de-stress and help your heart

  1. Stay positive. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

  2. Meditate. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Meditation’s close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body.

  3. Exercise. Every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintains a healthy weight.

  4. Unplug. It’s impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Cut the cord. Avoid emails and TV news. Take time each day — even if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutes — to escape from the world.

  5. Find ways to take the edge off your stress. Simple things, like a warm bath, listening to music, or spending time on a favorite hobby, can give you a much-needed break from the stressors in your life.

Read more about national stress awareness month.

National Nutrition Month® 2018

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. 

"Go Further with Food"is the theme for 2018, and its importance is timely for many reasons. Whether it's starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Preparing your foods to go further, by planning meals and snacks in advance can also help to reduce food loss and waste. This year's theme for National Nutrition Month® encourages us to achieve the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer, but it also urges us to find ways to cut back on food waste. Learning how to manage food resources at home will help you "Go Further with Food", while saving both nutrients and money.

Be sure to revisit the Academy's National Nutrition Month® website, for tips on exercise, freezing, meals on a budget, as well as many more great ideas.

CommWell Health

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